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House Bill 2168 will raise the compulsory school attendance age in Arizona from 16 until the student turns 18. However, the bill will also limit a parent’s freedom to decide what is best for their child in several other ways.
Under House Bill 2168 any Arizona student under 18 would not be allowed to be excused from school until they completed the 12th grade. Under current law a student can be exempted once they complete the 10th grade. In addition, a public school student who turns 18 but has not completed 12th grade would not be permitted to withdraw from school unless they sign and submit a notarized consent form developed by the school.
House Bill 2168 will also change another exemption for students who are employed with parental consent in a lawful wage earning occupation. While current law would allow a 15-year-old to be exempted from school attendance in this situation, House Bill 2168 would require the student to be at least 16.
The House Education Committee had a hearing to discuss House Bill 2168 on January 28 and have the held the bill over. It is unknown at this time when further action will be taken. At this time we are closely monitoring this bill but don't believe any further is action is necessary at the moment.
01/23/13 First Read in the House.
01/23/13 Assigned to House Education Committee.
01/28/13 Hearing- Bill was discussed and held.
05/23/13 Bill died with close of Legislature.
There are numerous reasons HSLDA opposes efforts to increase the compulsory attendance age in Arizona.
Raising the compulsory attendance age from 16 to 18 would subject home educators to the requirements of the homeschool statute two years earlier and one year later than the current requirement.
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 until 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-six 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.
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.
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