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3/15/2004 4:14:10 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Pennsylvania--Calls Needed: Attempts to Expand Compulsory Attendance Age

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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March 15, 2004


Pennsylvania--Calls Needed: Attempts to Expand Compulsory Attendance
Age



Dear HSLDA members and friends:

Your calls are needed to prevent a bad bill from becoming law in
Pennsylvania! This Wednesday the Pennsylvania House Education
Committee will consider a bill that would expand the jurisdiction and
control of the public school authorities over your six and seven year
olds. House Bill 36 would lower the compulsory age from eight to
six, further eroding the right of parents to determine when a child
is ready for formal education and subjecting home educators to
reporting, record keeping, and evaluations two years earlier than now
required.

Representative Sam Rohrer, a member of the House Education Committee
and a friend of homeschoolers, has offered an amendment exempting
home educators from the proposed law so long as they notify the
school district of their homeschooling. While this amendment would be
better than having to fully comply with the home education law
beginning at age six, it would still require parents to provide
certain information to public school officials. The best solution is
to stop this bill in its tracks.


REQUESTED ACTION:

1. Please call Representative Jess Stairs, Chairman of the House
Education Committee, and as many of the members of the Committee as
possible with this message:

"Please oppose HB 36. Expanding compulsory attendance would only
waste taxpayers' money and take away the right of parents to decide
whether their children are ready for school."

You do not need to identify yourself as a homeschooler.

Representative Jess Stairs - 717-783-9311

You can find phone numbers and email addresses for the Committee
members at the following page on the Pennsylvania Legislature
website: http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=1402

2. Please attend the meeting of the House Education Committee on
Wednesday to show your opposition to this bill. The meeting is at
9:30 a.m. in Room 60 of the East Wing of the Capitol Building in
Harrisburg. Legislators need to get the message that the bill is
opposed by thousands of Pennsylvania parents.


BACKGROUND:

- Lowering the compulsory attendance age from eight to six would
subject Pennsylvania home educators to the requirements of the
homeschool statute two years earlier. (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.

- It would restrict parents' freedom to decide if their children are
ready for school.

- 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.

For more information on compulsory attendance, please see our
memorandum at http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=1357


Sincerely,

Dewitt T. Black, III
Senior Counsel
Home School Legal Defense Association



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