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3/22/2005 2:52:01 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Rhode Island--Calls Needed to Defeat Expansion of State Control Over Homeschoolers

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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March 22, 2005


Rhode Island--Calls Needed to Defeat Expansion of State Control Over
Homeschoolers


Dear HSLDA members and friends:

Calls are needed immediately to stop a bill that would raise the age
of compulsory attendance from 16 to 17. If this bill became law,
school districts would have one more year to demand paperwork and
"approve" homeschoolers.

House Bill 5744 will be heard tomorrow, Wednesday, March 23, in the
House Health, Education, and Welfare Committee. H.B. 5744 is the
House version of Senate Bill 169, which was heard in the Senate
Education Committee last week.

Proponents of raising the compulsory attendance age claim it will lead
to a higher graduation rate. But the state with the highest
graduation rate in the country, New Jersey, at 89%, only requires
attendance to age 16. And Florida, which requires attendance to age
18, has one of the nation's lowest graduation rates, at 59%.

The facts demonstrate that forcing unwilling students to stay in
school longer does not increase graduation rates. And it does not
reduce juvenile crime.

In addition, it is certain that your tax bill will increase. When
California raised its compulsory attendance age, taxpayers were forced
to pay for a whole new school system to handle the numerous problems
these unruly, unwilling students caused.


ACTION REQUESTED

1. Please call all the members of the House Health, Education, and
Welfare Committee. If one of them is your own state representative,
be sure to identify yourself as a constituent. Use our legislative
toolbox http://www.hslda.org/toolbox/ to find your senator. Your
message can be as simple as,

"Please vote against House Bill 5744, which would raise the compulsory
attendance age. It will raise taxes, but statistics show it will not
reduce juvenile crime or the dropout rate, and it will not increase
the graduation rate. Students must already stay in school until age
18 unless the parents give written consent. Parents should be
trusted."

This bill affects all students, so there is no need to identify
yourself as a homeschooler.

Email addresses are listed below, but phone calls are more effective.
The committee members are:

Representative Joseph M. McNamara Chairperson
rep-mcnamara@rilin.state.ri.us
401-941-8319

Representative Peter T. Ginaitt Vice Chairperson
rep-ginaitt@rilin.state.ri.us
(401) 732-2695

Representative Grace Diaz
rep-diaz@rilin.state.ri.us
401-467-8413

Representative Arthur Handy Secretary
rep-handy@rilin.state.ri.us
(401) 785-8996

Representative Charlene Lima
rep-lima@rilin.state.ri.us
(401) 946-5707

Representative John J. Loughlin Jr.
rep-loughlin@rilin.state.ri.us
(401) 625-9889

Representative Rene R. Menard
rep-menard@rilin.state.ri.us
(401) 765-1499

Representative Paul E. Moura
rep-moura@rilin.state.ri.us
(401) 222-6690

Representative Richard W. Singleton
rep-singleton@rilin.state.ri.us
(401) 265-4965

Representative Susan Story
rep-story@rilin.state.ri.us
401-245-5083

Representative Raymond J. Sullivan Jr.
rep-sullivan@rilin.state.ri.us
(401) 828-9207

Representative Stephen R. Ucci
rep-ucci@rilin.state.ri.us
(401) 275-5559



BACKGROUND

1. The statistics in the second paragraph come from the February,
2005, publication of the Manhattan Institute's Center for Civic
Innovation, "Public High School Graduation and College-Readiness
Rates: 1991-2002," by Dr. Jay P. Greene.

2. Rhode Island students who are enrolled in school must attend until
age 18 unless parents give written consent to leave at age 16.

3. States which compel attendance only to age 16 have higher high
school completion rates than states that compel attendance to 17 or
18, on average. (Source: "Dropout Rates in the United States: 2000",
pp. 9-10, 40-41; National Center for Education Statistics, U.S.
Department of Education, Office of educational Research and
Improvement, Doc. No. NCES 2002-114.)

4. States which compel attendance only to age 16 also have lower
dropout rates than states that compel attendance to 17 or 18, on
average. (Source: same as above.)

5. According to statistics published by the federal Office of
Juvenile Justice and Dropout Prevention, a higher compulsory
attendance age is not correlated to a reduction in juvenile crime.
(Source: "Juvenile Arrests 1999." Washington, D.C.: Office of Juvenile
Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 2000.)

Thank you for standing with us for freedom.

Sincerely,


Scott Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney



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