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4/2/2003 12:12:23 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Missouri--Hearing Today on Compulsory Attendance Bill

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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April 2, 2003

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Your help is urgently needed today to help defeat a bill that would
expand the government's control over school-age children. The House
Education Committee will hold a hearing on House Bill 45 today, April
2, at 5:00 PM.

H.B. 45 raises the age of compulsory attendance to 18 years of age
across the state.

HSLDA and Families for Home Education oppose this bill since it would
increase the time during which the state has the potential to
exercise jurisdiction over our children.

ACTION REQUESTED

1. Call as many members of the committee as possible, especially your
own representative if he or she is on the committee, and courteously
express your opposition to H.B. 45. Your message can be as simple as:

"I urge you to vote against H.B. 45. It wastes taxpayers' money.
Statistics show that forcing older teenagers to attend school does
not improve graduation rates."

Remember that the committee members may not be familiar with the
bills yet. Since these bills affect all residents, it is not
necessary to identify yourself as a homeschooler.

Go to our legislative toolbox at http://www.hslda.org/toolbox to find
out who your state representative is.

Members of House Education Committee:

Jane Cunningham, (573) 751-1186
Brian Baker, (573) 751-2175
Bob Behnen, (573) 751-0224
Walt Bivins, (573) 751-9766
Jerry Bough, (573) 751-2565
Sharon Brooks, (573) 751-1309
Michael Corcoran, (573) 751-0855
D.J. Davis, (573) 751-1500
Gary Dusenberg, (573) 751-1487
Yaphett El-Amin, (573) 751-2198
Doug Ervin, (573) 751-2238
Kathlyn Fares, (573) 751-1285
Barbara Fraser, (573) 751-4163
Jeff Harris, (573) 751-9753
Esther Haywood, (573) 751-4468
Jim Lembke, (573) 751-2315
Bob May, (573) 751-5713
Danielle Moore, (573) 751-5226
Sherman Parker, (573) 751-2176
Sue Schoemehl, (573) 751-9804
Juanita Walton, (573) 751-5538
Kevin Wilson, (573) 751-9781
Yvonne Wilson, (573) 751-9758
Terry Young, (573) 751-9851

2. Please attend the hearing to show your opposition. The hearing
will be held in Hearing Room 3 in the basement of the capitol
building in Jefferson City at 5:00 PM, April 2.

3. Pass this on to others. Remember that H.B.45 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.

These bills would require homeschool families to submit to at least
one more year of governmental red tape and threat of legal action in
the event of an alleged violation. They would restrict parents'
freedom to decide if their older teenager 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.

In an apparent effort to appease people with religious convictions,
H.B. 45 creates a new exception to the compulsory attendance law.
Children whose parents object to public school attendance because of
religious beliefs would be excused from compulsory attendance, but it
would require the family to submit a written notice. This would be
tantamount to registration.

A religious exemption would be desirable as a stand-alone provision.
It is not, however, worth subjecting thousands of 16 and 17 year olds
whose parents do not have religious objections to one or two years
more of government control. Our freedom is not a bargaining chip that
we will trade away for the hope of some other benefit.

Thank you for standing with us to protect freedom!

Sincerely,

Scott A. Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney


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