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New Jersey

June 2, 2008

Assembly Bill 375: Raising Upper Age Limit of Compulsory School Attendance

Sponsor:
Diegnan, Patrick J., Jr. as Primary Sponsor; Egan, Joseph V. as Co-Sponsor; Prieto, Vincent as Co-Sponsor; Lampitt, Pamela R. as Co-Sponsor

Summary:
This bill raises the requirement for compulsory school attendance from 16 to 18 years of age, except for students who graduate from high school prior to their 17th birthday.

Status:

1/8/2008Introduced, Referred to Assembly Education Committee
5/12/2008This bill was voted out of the Education Committee and referred to the Appropriations committee.

This bill failed to pass and is now dead.

HSLDA's Position:
Oppose!

Action Requested:
None at this time.

Background:
You may be told this legislation does not affect homeschooling. It does. It would subject homeschool families to two additional years of government mandates with respect to family education.

You may be told homeschool students who graduate are exempt. This is not correct. The bill only exempts those who have graduated “from high school.” Under New Jersey law, homeschooling is considered an education “elsewhere than at school.” Since the bill’s graduation language only clearly exempts those who have graduated from “high school,” i.e., public and private school students, it is possible—or even likely—that a judge interpreting the language would decide the exemption does not apply to those who receive instruction elsewhere than at school.

Expanding the compulsory attendance age would inevitably cause tax increases to pay for more classroom space and teachers to accommodate the additional students compelled to attend public school.

Raising the compulsory attendance age will not reduce the dropout rate. Some of states with the lowest completion rates compel attendance to age 18.

Twenty-eight 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.

Mandating attendance until age 18 would restrict parents’ freedom to decide if their 16- or 17-year-old is ready for college or the work force. Some 16- or 17-year-olds who are not academically inclined benefit more from valuable work experience than from being forced to sit in a classroom.

For more information, please see our memorandum on Compulsory School Attendance Age Legislation.

 Other Resources

E-lert—May 12, 2008—New Jersey: Calls Needed to Stop Expansion of Government Control Over Homeschoolers

E-lert—October 20, 2008—New Jersey: Calls Needed Immediately to Stop Expansion of Government Control Over Homeschoolers

Bill Text

Bill History