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Compulsory Attendance
Volume 45, Program 4
5/15/2003
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Increasing the number of years that students are legally required to attend school doesn't fix any education problems. Today on Home School Heartbeat Mike Smith talks about why HSLDA opposes this type of legislation.

    Mike Smith:

    The home is the centerpiece of nurture, education, and life itself. Compulsory education usurps parents' right to choose when to school their children. It undermines the integrity of the home.

    We need to re-establish the right of parents to decide when their children are ready to begin formal education. Youngsters need to enjoy the brief years of childhood without the threat of government intervention. A shadow is cast across the joyful teaching of loving parents when education is no longer a natural product of their love for each other but a product of state compulsion.

    Likewise, another recent legislative trend to raise the age of compulsory school attendance to age 17 or 18, is also flawed. Raising the compulsory attendance age will not reduce the dropout rate. In fact, the two states with the highest high school completion rates, Maryland and North Dakota, compel attendance only to age 16. But the state with the lowest completion rate, Oregon, compels attendance to age 18.

    Expanding compulsory attendance ages is bad idea. The failures of the public schools and the success of homeschooling demand a thoughtful dialogue on whether compulsory attendance laws should be retained or rolled back. And until next time, I'm Mike Smith.


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