The Home School Court Report
No. 5

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Compulsory Age Expansion Blocked

You made the difference! By a vote of 309 to 44, the New Hampshire House of Representatives halted the progress of Senate Bill 268, a measure which would have raised the compulsory attendance age from 16 to 18.

A vote taken April 12, 2006, shunted the bill to “interim study” status. This means the bill is dead for this year, but it is likely to return next year in some form. We will stay vigilant for any last-minute parliamentary shenanigans that might try to attach the contents of S.B. 268 to another bill.

Senate Bill 268 was strongly supported by the governor and appeared to have tremendous momentum. It sailed through the Senate Education Committee on a 6-0 vote and then passed the full Senate by a wide margin. It was rushed to the House where it passed the House Education Committee. The situation was so bleak that some homeschoolers appeared ready to concede defeat and were proposing compromise language.

Unpersuaded by the pessimists and unwilling to concede the loss of two years of liberty for homeschooled high schoolers and their parents, the Christian Home Educators of New Hampshire (CHENH) identified several key representatives who could turn the tide. Using information supplied by Home School Legal Defense Association, homeschoolers met with these representatives and pummeled them with phone calls asking them to oppose the bill.

On the morning of the final vote, homeschoolers turned out to picket the state house. When surprised officials saw the crowd and the signs they were carrying, they tried to run the picketers off—only to discover they were there lawfully. All required permits had been obtained.

The message got through. An “ought to pass” motion failed 134 to 219, while the “interim study” motion carried, giving the sponsors a nominal sort of victory.

Sometimes it seems as if childhood itself is an endangered species in America. Lawmakers have tried to force children as young as 3 to attend school. There was a recent report that one lawmaker (not in New Hampshire) declared that compulsory attendance should start at 2 to get children away from “incompetent” parents as soon as possible.

Defeating efforts to expand compulsory attendance is part of the core mission of preserving the precious parent-child relationship God has created and the rights that flow from that relationship. Thank you for standing with us to protect those rights.

— by Scott A. Woodruff