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5/17/2005 12:21:09 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Pennsylvania - Calls Needed to Oppose Lowering the Compulsory Attendance Age

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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May 17, 2005

Pennsylvania - Calls Needed to Oppose Lowering the Compulsory
Attendance Age

Dear HSLDA members and friends:

Your calls are needed to stop a bill to expand the compulsory
attendance law before it goes any further.

House Bill 377, legislation which would lower the compulsory
attendance age from eight to six in the Philadelphia school district,
is now being considered by the House Appropriations Committee. As we
previously reported to you, this bill passed the House Education
Committee on April 4, 2005.

This bill went through two readings in the full House, but last week
it was referred to the Appropriations Committee to consider its fiscal
impact on the Commonwealth's budget. We have one more opportunity to
stop this bill at the committee level before it returns to the full
House for a final vote.

Although this bill will only affect the Philadelphia school district,
we are concerned that the next step the General Assembly will take is
expanding this compulsory attendance requirement to all school
districts in Pennsylvania. This has been the pattern that similar
legislation has followed in other states.

There is a qualified exemption in the bill for homeschooling parents
whose children are between age six and eight, in that they would not
have to comply with the home education statute until their children
reach the current compulsory attendance age of eight. However, these
parents would still have to notify the local school district that they
intend to provide their child's education between ages six and eight.
How the state would determine that a parent is providing this
education is yet to be determined.

HSLDA opposes any legislation lowering the compulsory attendance age
because it further erodes parental rights in making decisions which
affect the educational preparedness of their children.

ACTION REQUESTED:

1. Please contact the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee
with this message:

"Please vote against House Bill 377. This bill restricts a parent's
right to choose when a child is ready for formal education. This bill
will also waste taxpayer dollars, since there is nothing to indicate
that early schooling results in any educational advantage for the
child."

The contact information for the Chairman of the House Appropriations
Committee is as follows:

Representative Brett Feese
245 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17756
(717) 787-5270
Fax: (717) 705-2020
bfeese@pahousegop.com

2. Please forward this e-mail to every family you know who is not a
member of HSLDA and urge them to contact the Chairman of the House
Appropriations Committee with this same message.

BACKGROUND:

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. The bill 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 school.

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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