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Homeschoolers Stop Expansion of Government Control

Just after the Colorado Legislature opened in January 2006, Treon Goossen of Concerned Parents of Colorado contacted Home School Legal Defense Association about a bill that threatened to impose two additional years of government control over homeschools, private schools, and public schools. Introduced by Abel Tapia (District 3), Senate Bill 73 would have lowered the compulsory attendance age from 7 to 6, and raised it from 16 to 17. Defeating the bill initially seemed impossible because it had numerous supporters in the legislature.

In conjunction with Mrs. Goossen, HSLDA sent an e-lert to our Colorado members that urged them to encourage Senator Tapia to withdraw the bill. When Tapia did not withdraw it, HSLDA asked members to also call and ask their own legislators to oppose the bill. Not only did these calls not stop S.B. 73, but the Senate Education Committee amended the bill to add yet another year to the compulsory attendance age, raising it to 18!

In a last-ditch effort, Mrs. Goossen and HSLDA wrote their own amendment, which Senator Greg Brophy (District 1) presented to the legislature. The amendment would exclude families operating under Colorado’s home education statute from the minimum and maximum compulsory attendance ages.

With only two weeks left in the legislative session, the homeschool exemption amendment passed, S.B. 73’s maximum compulsory attendance age for public and private schoolers dropped from 18 to 17, and the minimum age was raised from 6 back to 7! This means that only those families operating their home education program under a private satellite school will be subject to a one-year (instead of three-year) increase in compulsory attendance age, while those operating under the homeschool statute will remain under the same age requirements (7-16) as before.

S.B. 73 was signed by the governor on May 26, 2006.

— by Christopher J. Klicka

*For a review of important parental rights cases, click here.