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Pennsylvania

November 26, 2008

House Bill 118: An Act Creating Withdrawal Procedures from Public School

Authors:
Representatives Roebuck, Curry, Cohen, Mundy, Grucela, Leach, Wheatley, Beyer, Baker, Belfanti, Biancucci, Bishop, Blackwell, Boyd, Clatagirone, Clymer, DePasquale, Fabrizio, Frankel, Freeman, Geist, Goodman, Hershey, Kula, Mann, McGeehan, Melio, Nailor, M. O'Brien, Petrone, Scavello, Siptroth, Sonney, Walko, Williams, and Youngblood

Summary:
This bill would lower the compulsory school attendance age from 8 to 6 in the Philadelphia school district. There is a qualified exemption in the bill for homeschooling parents whose children are between age 6 and 8, in that they would not have to comply with the home education statute until their children reach the current compulsory attendance age of 8. However, these parents would still have to notify the local school district that they intend to provide their child’s education between ages 6 and 8. How the state would determine that a parent is providing this education is yet to be determined. HSLDA opposes any legislation lowering the compulsory attendance age because it further erodes parental rights in making decisions which affect the educational preparedness of their children.

Status:

1/31/2007 Introduced and referred to the House Education Committee
4/16/2007 Reported back as committed, first consideration, laid on the table
4/18/2007 Removed from the table
4/23/2007 Referred to the Appropriations Committee
10/1/2007 Re-reported as amended
10/15/2007 Second reading
10/23/2007 Third consideration and final passage
11/9/2007 Referred to the Education Committee
11/30/2007 Legislation died when the House adjourned

HSLDA’s Position:
HSLDA is monitoring this legislation

Action Requested:
None at this time.

Background:
Many education experts have concluded that beginning a child’s formal education too early may actually result in burnout and poor scholastic performance later.

Lowering the compulsory attendance age erodes the authority of parents who are in the best position to determine when their child’s formal education should begin. The bill would restrict parents’ freedom to decide if their children are ready for school.

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 school.

 Other Resources

Bill Text   (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Bill History