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3/15/2004 5:12:04 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Maryland--Calls Needed-Hearing on Bill to Raise Compulsory Age to 18

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


Maryland--Calls Needed-Hearing on Bill to Raise Compulsory Age to 18


Dear HSLDA members and friends:

Your help is needed to stop a bill that would raise the compulsory
attendance age from 16 to 18 years for all Maryland students,
including homeschool students. There will be a hearing on the bill,
Senate Bill 618 (SB 618), in the Senate Education, Health and
Environmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday.

The bill would force disruptive young adults into classrooms where
they do not want to be, making it harder for all students to learn.
Taxes would have to be raised to pay for efforts to control these
unwilling students. Parents would lose the freedom to decide if
their young adult sons and daughters would be better off developing
work skills than being confined to a classroom where they do not want
to be. Homeschool families would be subjected to 2 more years of red
tape.

The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, March 17, in 2 West Committee
Room, Miller Senate Building, at 1:00 P.M.


Action Requested:

1. Please call your State Senator, if he or she is listed below, and
give him or her the following message:

"Please vote against S.B. 618, the compulsory attendance bill.
Raising the compulsory attendance age would create trouble for
parents, schools, and educators. Forcing disruptive, unwilling older
students back into classrooms makes it much harder for students who
truly want to learn. It will raise taxes. Maryland already has one
of the highest high school completion rates in the country."

Since this bill affects all parents, it is not necessary to identify
yourself as a homeschooler.

You may leave messages for the members by calling the Committee at
410-841-3661. To learn the name of your Senator, or get their
contact information, use HSLDA's Legislative Toolbox located at:
http://www.hslda.org/toolbox

2. Attend the hearing. Sign up to speak outside the hearing room by
12:30. The committee will hear many bills. We cannot be certain
whether this bill will be heard first, last, or somewhere in between.
If the bill is heard late, you may have a significant wait. So-
called "child advocates" will be there trying to convince the
committee that young adults should be forced to attend school until
age 18. Ordinary parents need to speak on behalf of Maryland parents
and give the other side of the story.

Maryland Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Members:

Chairman: Paula Hollinger
Vice Chair: Joan Carter Conway
Gwendolyn Britt
Richard F. Colburn
Roy P. Dyson
Janet Greenip
Sharon M. Grosfeld
Andrew P. Harris
Paul G. Pinsky
Sandra B. Schrader
Norman R. Stone, Jr.

You can read the text of the bill at
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=1403


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 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.

- It would restrict parents' freedom to decide if their 16 year old
is ready for college or 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.

- 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 standing with us for freedom.


Sincerely,

Scott A. Woodruff, Esq.
HSLDA Staff Attorney



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