Senate File 160 and House File 198: Raise Compulsory School Attendance to 18

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Last Updated: March 19, 2013
Senate File 160 and House File 198: Raise Compulsory School Attendance to 18
House Senate
Sponsors:
Representative Mariani, Representative Moran
Sponsors:
Senator Wiger, Senator Johnson, Senator Torres Ray
Summary:

House File ("HF") 198 raises the compulsory school attendance requirement from 16 years old to 18 years old starting in the 2014-2015 school year.

Summary:

Senate File ("SF") 160 raises the compulsory school attendance requirement from 16 years old to 18 years old or until graduation starting in the 2014-2015 school year. Homeschoolers who file initial notification before a student turns 16 would not be required to submit additional notification or assessment after the student turns 16.

Status:

1/28/2013     (House)     Introduced and Referred to House Education Policy Committee

Status:

1/28/2013     (Senate)     Introduced and Referred to Senate Education Committee
2/12/2013     (Senate)     Passed Education Committee with amendments; referred to Judiciary Committee.
3/18/2013     (Senate)     Passed Judiciary Committee with amendments; referred to Finance Committee.

HSLDA's Position:
Oppose.
HSLDA's Position:
Oppose.
Action Requested:
None at this time
Action Requested:
None at this time
Background:

See Senate Bill.

Background:

Statistics show that 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.)

Even with possible exemption language, passing this bill 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 is an inevitable tax burden to pay for more classroom space and teachers to accommodate the additional students compelled to attend public schools. When California raised the age 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.

Many studies have shown the ineffectiveness of increasing the compulsory attendance age. A study by Cornell University on raising the age of compulsory attendance found that there was no correlation between passing a law to raise the age of compulsory attendance and high school completion rates. The study shows that specific programs targeted at at risk youth can help improve completion rates, but a law raising the age of attendance does not. To read the report click here.

A new study from the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution has confirmed the lack of evidence that increasing the compulsory attendance age improves high school graduation. The study concludes, "Increasing the compulsory attendance age and thinking that the problem has been addressed may not quite be shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic, but it comes close." Read the full report here.

 Other Resources

House Bill Text

House Bill History

 Other Resources

Senate Bill Text

Senate Bill History