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August 6, 2008

Senate Bill 4686: Compulsory School Attendance to Age 18

Author:
Senator Martin M. Dilan

Summary:
Senator Martin M. Dilan introduced a compulsory attendance bill which would have increased the compulsory age to 18. If passed, Senate Bill 4686 would have required children to attend school two years longer than they are currently required to.

Homeschool parents would have been required to file a notice of intent, the Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP), quarterly reports and annual assessment until the end of the school year in which their child turns 18. In essence, Senate Bill 4686 would have added two years for reporting for homeschool parents!

Senate Bill 4686 did not enter into the committee calendar and is therefore dead.

Status:

4/20/2007Referred to Education

HSLDA's Position:
HSLDA is opposed to this bill.

Action Requested:
No action is needed at this time.

Background:
This bill would also require students to attend school until the last day of the school year in which they turn 18. The companion bill is Senate Bill 4686.

Some of the problems with lowering and raising the compulsory attendance age are listed below.

  • 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 upper age limit 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