South Dakota Homeschool Population Growth Fastest in America

The growth is believed to be due to their hands-off approach to governing the practice.

QUICK FACTS:
  • The state of South Dakota has seen the fastest growth of its homeschooling population of any state in the union.
  • In each of the last two academic years, the number of kids in South Dakota who are homeschooled increased by more than 20 percent.
  • The state’s lack of strict rules is believed to be responsible for the increase in home education over the last few years.
  • Recent rollback of regulations, the increasing reports of the progressive curriculum in schools, as well as negative effects of remote learning seen during the pandemic are all believed to have led to the increasing numbers.
RECENT LEGISLATIVE CHANGES:
  • The requirement that parents notify a district annually of their intention to homeschool their child was abolished by Senate Bill 177 last year. Homeschooled kids are also no longer required to take standardized examinations, as do students in public schools, or risk intervention from the school board if they don’t pass.
  • “It was a big win for parental rights,” says Dan Beasley, then a staff attorney at the influential Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), which pass the recent homeschool-friendly legislation. “It cut out unnecessary regulation and streamlined the process so parents can invest their time in providing the best education they can for their children.”
BACKGROUND:
  • Private and homeschools have seen a boom nationwide this year as parents increasingly choose to exit the public school systems.
  • According to the Oregon Department of Education, public school enrollment decreased from 582,661 in the 2019–2020 school year to 550,020 in April of this year. Enrollment is expected to drop further.
  • In Washington state, homeschooling groups have also seen record growth as public schools foresee a decline in enrollment.