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Date:
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6/19/2003 4:58:15 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Pennsylvania-Bill Would Force Homeschoolers to Report to the State Three Additional Years; Your Calls Needed

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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June 18, 2003

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

How would you like to file affidavits, portfolios, and evaluations
for six, seven and 17 year olds in your home education program? That
would be the new requirement for all homeschoolers if House Bill 1221
passes the Pennsylvania Legislature!

Immediate action is needed. Parents must call their House
Representative and ask him or her to stop House Bill 1221 which would
lower the compulsory attendance age from eight to six AND raise it
from 17 to 18. No other state has ever passed a bill to expand the
compulsory attendance age by three years at one time.

House Bill 1221 passed the House Education Committee yesterday by a
huge margin. Only two representatives voted against it. Furthermore,
this bill has the support of the Governor who wants it enacted this
session.

The adverse effects of this bill are not limited to homeschoolers.
This attempt to greatly expand state oversight of education is an
attack on parental rights, substituting the state's judgment of when
a child is ready to begin formal education for the parent's.

Your calls are needed now if this bill is to be stopped.

REQUESTED ACTION

Immediately call your state Representative and give him or her this
message:

"Please vote against House Bill 1221. This bill restricts parental
choice and wastes taxpayers money. The bill will also disrupt the
classroom by compelling unwilling children to attend school."

Do not identify yourself as a homeschooler, because it is unlikely
that this bill would be defeated simply to protect the interests of
homeschooling families. This bill affects all families with children
of compulsory attendance age.

To get the name and telephone number of your state representative,
use HSLDA's Legislative Toolbox at: http://www.hslda.org/toolbox , or
you can call of the office of the Chief Clerk of the House of
Representatives at 717-787-2372.

REASONS WE OPPOSE THIS BILL

- Lowering the compulsory attendance age from eight to six and
raising it from 17 to 18 would subject Pennsylvania home educators to
the requirements of the homeschool statute two years earlier and one
year later than now required. (You do not need to share this reason
with your legislators.)

- Many education experts have concluded that beginning a child's
formal education too early may actually result in burnout and poor
scholastic performance later.

- Lowering the compulsory attendance age erodes the authority of
parents who are in the best position to determine when their child's
formal education should begin.

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

- Twenty-nine 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.

- Another significant impact of expanding the compulsory attendance
age would be an inevitable tax increase to pay for more classroom
space and teachers to accommodate the additional students compelled
to attend public schools. 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.

Thank you for your calls! Together we can make a difference.

Sincerely,

Dewitt T. Black, III
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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