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2/15/2006 11:28:14 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
South Dakota--Calls Needed to Stop Expansion of Compulsory Attendance

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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February 15, 2006

Dear HSLDA members and friends:

Calls are needed immediately to stop two bills that would expand the
age of compulsory attendance. They have already passed the House and
are scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Education Committee
tomorrow, February 16.

South Dakota House Bill 1234 (H.B. 1234) would lower the age of
compulsory attendance from 7 to 5. House Bill 1235 (H.B. 1235) would
raise the compulsory attendance age from 16 to 18. Together, these
bills would take away parental freedom concerning four additional
years of a child's life and make them subject to government education
regulations.

ACTION REQUESTED:

Please call all the members of the Senate Education Committee listed
below and ask them to oppose H.B. 1234 and H.B. 1235. You can express
your opposition in your own words. Be concise and courteous. Here is
an example:

"Please vote against House Bill 1234, which would lower the age
children must start school from 7 to 5, and House Bill 1235, which
would raise the compulsory attendance age from 16 to 18. These bills
will raise taxes, will force students to start school too early, take
away parental freedom to determine when their children should start
and finish school, and force unwilling older teens into classrooms
where they will be disruptive."

This bill affects all students, so you do not need to identify
yourself as a homeschooler.

Call the "Senate lobby" at (605) 773-3821 to leave a message or call
the numbers below.

Ed Olson, Chair
605-224-6877

Eric H. Bogue, Vice-Chair

Jay Duenwald
605-224-6877

Dave Knudson

Clarence Kooistra
605-224-5951

Ben Nesselhuf

Jim Peterson
605-695-0032

Most legislators also stay at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel in
Pierre. You can call (605) 224-6877 and ask to be transferred to the
legislator's voicemail in their room.

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 also erodes the authority of
parents who are in the best position to determine when their child's
formal education should begin.

In addition, it is certain that your tax bill will increase to pay for
more classroom space and teachers to accommodate the additional
students compelled to attend public schools.

Under current law, 6 is the nominal age of compulsory attendance, but
parents have a right to waive compulsory attendance for their
6-year-old, so attendance is not actually required until age 7.

Proponents of raising the compulsory attendance age claim it will lead
to higher graduation rates. But the state with the best graduation
rate in the country, New Jersey, at 89%, only requires attendance to
age 16. In addition, Florida requires attendance to age 18 but 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. Furthermore, 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.

States which compel attendance only to age 16 have better high school
completion rates on average than states that compel attendance to 17
or 18.

States which compel attendance only to age 16 also have lower dropout
rates on average than states that compel attendance to 17 or 18.

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.

Thank you for standing with us for freedom.

Sincerely,


Scott Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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