May 12, 2004

House Bill 4128: Raising the Compulsory School Attendance Age

Representative Ken Daniels.

This bill raises the age of compulsory school attendance from the 16th birthday to the 18th birthday. H.B. 4128 is the sister bill to S.B. 24.

01/30/2003 To HOUSE Committee on EDUCATION.
02/05/2003 Committee Chairman's office says this bill will not move forward.

Action Requested:

HSLDA's Position:
HSLDA opposes this bill.


  • This bill will have a negative fiscal impact by forcing schools to expand classroom size and number of teachers in order to accommodate high schoolers for two more years.

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

  • Most states (29) 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.

  • 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 taxpayers.

  • This bill would require homeschool families to submit to another year of governmental red tape and threat of legal action in the event of an alleged violation.

  • 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.

 Other Resources

2/3/2003 - Michigan--Calls Needed to Defeat Bill Expanding Compulsory Attendance

Bill Text