March 18, 2004

Senate Bill 618: Education - Compulsory Attendance and Parental Responsibility - Age Limits

Senators McFadden, Della, Exum, Lawlah, Ruben, and Schrader

SB 618 would raise the compulsory school attendance age in Maryland from 16 to 18 years of age. This would require homeschoolers to fulfill all of the homeschool requirements for two extra years.


02/06/2004Introduced, referred to Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee.
03/17/2004Committee meeting at 1:00 PM. Location is 2 West Miller Senate Building, 11 Bladen Street, Annapolis, MD. At the committee hearing, the sponsor voluntarily withdrew the bill, effectively killing it.

Action Requested:
No more action is required.

HSLDA's Position:
HSLDA opposes this bill.


- Raising the compulsory attendance age will not reduce the dropout rate. In fact, the two states with the highest high school completion rates, Maryland at 94.5% and North Dakota at 94.7%, compel attendance only to age 16. The state with the lowest completion rate (Oregon: 75.4%) compels attendance to age 18. (Figures are three year averages, 1996 through 1998.)

- Twenty-nine states only require attendance to age 16. Older children unwilling to learn can cause classroom disruptions and even violence, making learning harder for their classmates who truly want to learn.

- It would restrict parents' freedom to decide if their 16 year old is ready for college or the workforce. (Some 16 year olds who are not academically inclined benefit more from valuable work experience than from being forced to sit in a classroom.)

- Another significant impact of expanding the compulsory attendance age would be an inevitable tax increase to pay for more classroom space and teachers to accommodate the additional students compelled to attend public schools. When California raised the age of compulsory attendance, unwilling students were so disruptive that new schools had to be built just to handle them and their behavior problems, all at the expense of the taxpayer.

 Other Resources

Bill Text

Bill History