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2/14/2003 5:48:08 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Maine--Legislation Would Raise Compulsory Attendance Age

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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February 14, 2003

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Each year HSLDA works to defeat legislation that would expand the
government's control over school-age children. Legislative Document
(LD) 390 raises the age of compulsory school attendance from 17 years
of age to 18 years of age. This would apply to all children in the
Maine, including homeschoolers.

We oppose all attempts to expand the compulsory attendance age since
it would increase the years the state has jurisdiction over our
children.

LD 390 will receive a hearing in the Joint Education and Cultural
Affairs Committee on Wednesday, February 19 at 9:00 AM in Room 214 of
the Cross Building. This is the same room where the hearing on LD
160 was held on Feb. 11.

ACTION REQUESTED

1. Attend the committee meeting to show your opposition.

2. Call as many of the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee
members listed as you can and express your opposition to L.D. 390:

"We urge you to vote against L.D. 390. It wastes taxpayers' money.
Statistics show that compelling 17 year olds to attend school does
not improve graduation rates."

3. Pass this on to others. Remember that L.D. 390 would affect all
parents, not just those who homeschool.

BACKGROUND

Raising the compulsory attendance age will not reduce the dropout
rate. In fact, the two states with the highest high school completion
rates (Maryland, 94.5% and North Dakota, 94.7%) compel attendance
only to age 16, but the state with the lowest completion rate
(Oregon, 75.4%) compels attendance to age 18. (Figures are three year
averages, 1996 through 1998.)

Most states (29) only require attendance to age 16. Older children
who are unwilling to learn can cause classroom disruptions and even
violence, making learning harder for their classmates who truly want
to learn.

When California raised the age of compulsory attendance, unwilling
students were so disruptive that new schools had to be built just to
handle them and their behavior problems, all at the expense of the
taxpayer.

This bill would require homeschool families to submit to another year
of governmental red tape and threat of legal action in the event of
an alleged violation.

It would restrict parents' freedom to decide if their 17 year old is
ready for college or the workforce. Some 17 year olds who are not
academically inclined benefit more from valuable work experience than
from being forced to sit in a classroom.

Thank you for your efforts for freedom!

Sincerely,

Scott A. Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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