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3/30/2004 5:28:36 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Illinois--Calls Needed to Defeat Compulsory Attendance Bill

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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March 30, 2004


Illinois--Calls Needed to Defeat Compulsory Attendance Bill


Dear HSLDA members and friends,

Your calls are needed to defeat Senate Bill 2918. S.B. 2918 raises
the compulsory attendance age from 16 to 17. Last week this bill
rapidly passed the Senate and is now in the House Rules Committee.
If passed into law, this bill will subject homeschool students to the
requirements for private schools for another year.

Homeschoolers have defeated these compulsory attendance age bills
several times before and we can do it again!


ACTION REQUESTED:

Call as many as you can of the Rules Committee representatives
(listed below) and express your opposition to S.B. 2918. In
particular, be certain to call the representative on the committee
who represents your legislative district. Give them this message:

"We urge you to vote against S.B. 2918 as it would waste taxpayer's
money. Statistics demonstrate that compelling 17 year olds to attend
school does not improve graduation rates."

You do not need to identify yourself as a homeschooler.

House Rules Committee
Chairperson: Representative Barbara Flynn Currie, (217) 782-8121
Representative William B. Black, (217) 782-4811
Representative Gary Hannig, (217) 782-8071
Representative Brent Hassert, (217) 782-4179
Representative Arthur L. Turner, (217) 782-8116


BACKGROUND

Here are some of the reasons HSLDA opposes S.B. 2918:

- Raising the compulsory attendance age from 16 to 17 would subject
Illinois home educators to the requirements for private school one
year later than now required. (You do not need to share this reason
with your legislators.)

- 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.

For more information on compulsory attendance, please see our
memorandum at http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000000/00000028.asp

Thank you for your efforts!


Sincerely,

Chris Klicka
Senior Counsel



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