The Home School Court Report
No. 5

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Legislative Battle Won

The 2007 state legislative session featured a hard-fought battle over a bill that would have lowered the compulsory school attendance age in Oregon.

Senate Bill 392 was intended to decrease the compulsory school attendance age in Oregon from 7 to 6. The original bill would have required homeschooling families to begin reporting their children to the school district a year earlier, and it could have affected the age when a child was required to be tested in grades 3, 5, 8, and 10.

Home School Legal Defense Association, along with Oregon Christian Home Education Association Network and Oregon Home Education Network, quickly notified homeschoolers and urged them to contact the Senate Education Committee to press for the bill’s defeat.

During testimony, those in support of the bill stated that the intent of the bill was to prevent 6-year-olds enrolled in public school from treating attendance as voluntary. S.B. 392 eventually made it out of the Oregon Senate accompanied by a few amendments and many calls from homeschoolers. Unfortunately, none of the amendments protected the right of parents to determine when their child was ready for school.

In the House, additional amendments were added, including one that would have required the Oregon State Board of Education to adopt procedures allowing a parent to exempt a 6-year-old from school attendance.

When brought to the floor, S.B. 392 was defeated 32-23, thanks to the persistence of homeschooling parents who contacted their legislators. While one representative afterwards changed his vote to allow the vote to be reconsidered, time ran out and the bill died.

— by Thomas J. Schmidt