From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


2/26/2003 2:21:38 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Missouri--Bill Would Raise Compulsory Attendance Age in St. Louis

From the HSLDA E-lert Service...

February 26, 2003

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Each year Home School Legal Defense Association works to defeat
legislation that would expand the government's control over school-
age children. Senate Bill 286 allows the city of St. Louis to raise
the age of compulsory school attendance from 16 years of age to 17
years of age. This would apply to all children in St. Louis,
including homeschoolers. S.B. 286 has already gone through the
senate education committee and will now go to the senate floor.

HSLDA and Families for Home Education oppose this attempt to expand
the compulsory attendance age since it would increase the time during
which the state has the potential to exercise jurisdiction over our


1. Call your senator and courteously express your opposition to S.B.
286. Your message can be as simple as:

"I urge you to vote against S.B. 286. It wastes taxpayers' money.
Statistics show that compelling 17 year olds to attend school does
not improve graduation rates."

Remember that your senator may not be familiar with the bill. Go to
our legislative toolbox at to find out
who your senator is and get his or her contact information.

2. Pass this on to others. Remember that S.B. 286 would affect all
parents, not just those who homeschool.


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

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.

If St. Louis raises the compulsory age, it will only be a matter of
time before other school districts ask for that same power, or power
to raise it even higher. This would soon lead to a crazy quilt of
compulsory attendance ages across Missouri.

Even though the bill exempts homeschool parents of 16 year olds from
keeping records and providing 1,000 hours of instruction, the 16 year
old would still be obligated to enroll in and "attend regularly" a
homeschool as defined by law for the entire school term. Failure to
do so could mean criminal or civil punishment for the homeschooling

Thank you for your efforts for freedom!


Scott A. Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney

The HSLDA E-lert Service is a service of:

Home School Legal Defense Association
P.O. Box 3000
Purcellville, Virginia 20134
Phone: (540) 338-5600
Fax: (540) 338-2733

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