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4/28/2003 4:00:19 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Illinois--Bill to Raise Compulsory School Age Dead for Now

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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April 28, 2003

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Last week we asked you to make calls on House Bill 2584. H.B. 2584
would have raised the age of compulsory school attendance from 16
years of age to 18.

Thank you for your calls! We hope we have buried this attempt to
raise the compulsory attendance age for another year.

Although H.B. 2584 missed a filing deadline and is automatically dead
in its present form, some representatives indicated that the bill's
measures would be attached to another bill this year. Your efforts
communicated to them that the citizens of Illinois do not want to
expand the compulsory attendance age. No doubt this will discourage
the legislature from attaching the text of H.B. 2584 to another bill.

We are thankful for your calls and will continue to monitor the
situation.

BACKGROUND

H.B. 2584 would have required homeschool families to submit to two
more years of governmental oversight and threat of legal action in
the event of an alleged violation. Here are some reasons HSLDA
opposes measures to raise the compulsory attendance age:

Raising the compulsory attendance age results in a negative financial
impact on taxpayers by requiring the state to hire more teachers and
build larger education facilities to accommodate the increased number
of students.

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.)

Some people argue that raising the compulsory attendance age is good
because having children in school for one or two more years will
prevent juvenile crime. However, a comparison of the fifty states
shows that the graduation age has little to no impact on a state's
juvenile crime rate.

29 states only require attendance to age 16. Older children 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.

House Bill 2584 would restrict parents' freedom to decide if their 16
or 17 year old is ready for the workforce. Some 16 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,

Christopher Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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