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May 11, 2009

Senate Bill 1437: Raises Compulsory School Attendance Age to 18

Author:
Senator Martin M. Dilan

Summary:
Senator Martin M. Dilan has introduced a bill which would increase the compulsory school age to 18. If passed, Senate Bill 1437 would require children to attend school two years longer than they are currently required to.

Homeschool parents would be 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 14376 adds two years for reporting for most homeschool parents!

Additionally, taxes will inevitably go up to pay for the cost of two more years of compulsory school attendance.

Status:

2/2/2009(Senate) Referred to Education

HSLDA’s Position:
HSLDA is opposed to S.B. 1437.

Action Requested:
No action is requested at this time.

Background:
Senate Bill 1437 would require students to attend school until the last day of the school year in which they turn 18 and extend the age of eligibility to age 22.

Some of the problems with 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

HSLDA Issues Library: Compulsory Attendance Age Legislation

Bill Text

Bill History