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New Hampshire

December 14, 2006

Senate Bill 268: Raising the Age of Required Attendance of Children in School

Sponsors:
Sen. Green; Sen. Estabrook; Sen. Gallus; Sen. D'Allesandro; Sen. Foster; Sen. Odell; Sen. Gottesman; Sen. Larsen; Sen. Hassan; Sen. Martel Rep. Weyler; Rep. S. L'Heureux; Rep. Craig; Rep. Snyder

Summary:
This bill would raise the age of compulsory attendance from 16 years to 18 years.

Status:

01/4/2006Senate: Introduced; referred to Senate Education Committee
02/07/2006Senate: Hearing, Room 103, 9:30 a.m.
02/21/2006Senate: Senate Education Committee vote expected, did not vote
03/07/2006Senate: Senate Education Committee vote: ought to pass with amendment, 3-2
03/22/2006Senate: Floor Vote passed
03/28/2006House: Introduced, referred to Education Committee
04/04/2006House: Public Hearing, Ought to Pass, 11-10
04/12/2006House: Floor Vote, bill failed
04/12/2006House: Rep. O'Neil moved for interim study, motion adopted
05/24/2006House: Referred to Education Committee for interim study
10/16/2006House: Interim Study Report: Recommended for future legislation

HSLDA's Position:
Oppose.

Action Requested:
None at this time.

Background:
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 work force. (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.

For more information on compulsory attendance, please see our issue analyses on the effects of compulsory attendance age legislation.

You may be told there is a "homeschool" exception to the higher compulsory attendance age. That is simply not correct. Even students who are being homeschooled would be required to comply with legal requirements until age 18.

 Other Resources

Jan.-20-2006—New Hampshire—Calls Needed to Defeat Expansion of State Control Over Homeschoolers

Jan.-24-2006—New Hampshire—No Homeschool Exemption in Senate Bill 268

Feb.-6-2006—New Hampshire—Calls Needed to Stop Rise in Compulsory Attendance Age

Feb.-17-2006—New Hampshire—Calls Needed: Stop Rise in Compulsory Attendance Age

Mar.-6-2006—New Hampshire—Calls Needed to Stop Compulsory Attendance Age Increase

Mar.-15-2006—New Hampshire—Calls Needed to Stop Increase in Attendance Age

Mar.-21-2006—New Hampshire—Call Now to Stop Increased Control Over Homeschooling

Mar.-30-2006—New Hampshire—Calls Needed to Stop Compulsory Attendance Bill

Apr.-7-2006—New Hampshire—Calls Needed To Stop Compulsory Age Increase to 18

May-5-2006—New Hampshire—Compulsory Age Expansion Blocked

February-2-2007—New Hampshire—Calls Needed To Stop Compulsory Attendance Age Increase to 18

Bill Text

Bill History