Across the States
Bills Would Raise Compulsory Attendance Age
Senate Bill 171, House Bill 1474, and House Bill 1790 are legislative proposals which would raise North Carolina’s compulsory school attendance age. S.B. 171 would raise it from 16 to 17, until the child graduates from high school, while H.B. 1474 would raise it from 16 to 18, until graduation. H.B. 1790 would raise the compulsory attendance age to 17 on July 1, 2009, and to 18 on July 1, 2011, unless the child just graduated from high school. If enacted, this legislation would require homeschoolers to comply with the law for up to an additional two years, including additional years of standardized testing. Home School Legal Defense Association believes that these bills should be opposed, because they represent an expansion of the state’s control over education, particularly homeschooling.
There are other reasons to oppose these bills besides their effect on home education. Studies have shown that persons 16 years old who lack the self-motivation to continue in school receive little benefit from compulsory attendance and, in fact, have a negative influence on other students their age who are attending school voluntarily. Given the breakdown of discipline in the public schools, legislators should not impose any requirement of attendance on students over age 16 who do not wish to be there and who will further disrupt efforts of teachers to instruct those students who desire to learn. Also, additional teachers will have to be hired and school facilities built to accommodate the additional students, all at taxpayer expense.
HSLDA encourages home educators in North Carolina to contact their state legislators and express their opposition to this legislation.
— by Dewitt T. Black