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3/4/2005 5:39:59 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Alabama--Calls Needed to Stop the State Increasing its Control of Your Children

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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March 4, 2005


Alabama--Calls Needed to Stop the State Increasing its Control of Your
Children


Alabama House Bill 492 would gradually raise the compulsory school
attendance age from 16 to 18. This means homeschoolers would be
subject to the public school's jurisdiction for two more years.

It has already passed the House Education Finance and Appropriations
Committee and is going to the full House of Representatives where a
vote is scheduled for this coming Tuesday, March 8, 2005. We need your
calls to your state representatives to defeat this bill.

HSLDA is working closely with the Christian Home Education Fellowship
of Alabama in opposing this legislation. For the greatest impact, we
are requesting that you call your state representative on Tuesday
morning before the House of Representatives convenes in the afternoon.

In addition, House Bill 492 would also do away with the church school
enrollment form filed by parents with the local superintendent.
Instead, the bill appears to require local superintendents to compile
a list of children of compulsory attendance age. Those not enrolled in
the public school program or taught by private tutors would be
reported to the State Superintendent of Education.

Please call your state representative to stop this bad bill.


ACTION REQUESTED

1. Please contact your state representative and urge him to vote
against House Bill 492 by giving him this message:

"Please vote against House Bill 492 which would raise Alabama's
compulsory school attendance age. This bill restricts the right of
parents to choose educational or work options for their children. This
bill will also waste taxpayer dollars in requiring the attendance of
students who are unwilling to remain in school."

To find the name of your state representative, use HSLDA's Legislative
Toolbox at http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=2158 .

2. Please forward this email to every homeschooling family you know
who is not a member of HSLDA and urge them to contact their state
representatives.


BACKGROUND


Under the provisions of this bill, the Alabama compulsory attendance
ages would be as follows: between the ages of seven and 16 years for
the 2005-2006 school year, between the ages of seven and 17 years for
the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 school years, and between the ages of
seven and 18 years for the 2008-2009 school year and each school year
thereafter. Although a child may terminate school enrollment at age 16
by filing a declaration of intent with the local board of education,
the parent must ensure that the child's education will continue in an
"alternative educational or training program approved by the State
Department of Education."

This bill would also delete from current law the exemption from
compulsory attendance allowed for children whose physical and mental
condition prevents or renders inadvisable their attendance at school.
These children would have to be enrolled in school or taught by a
private tutor even though a physician or county health officer had
determined that they were physically or mentally incapacitated for
school work.

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. These 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.

For more information on compulsory attendance, please see our
memorandum at http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=2051 .

Sincerely,


Dewitt T. Black, III
HSLDA Senior Counsel



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