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3/10/2006 11:35:24 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Florida--Calls Needed to Stop Increased Government Control

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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March 9, 2006

Florida--Calls Needed to Stop Increased Government Control

Dear HSLDA members and friends:

The Florida Legislature just opened March 7 and Senate Bill 772 has
already passed through committee. This is bad for homeschoolers
because the bill threatens to take away all parents' right to make
educational choices for their children.

Senate Bills 772 and 1238 will expand the state's control over your
children for two more years, from age 16 to 18. An almost identical
bill was filed in the House (House Bill 403).

These bills require your children to be under the state's jurisdiction
for two more years. This means, if you are under the homeschool law,
you would have to test or evaluate your children for two more school
years.

Senate Bill 772 was heard in the Children and Families Committee and
was voted in favor of by 6 to 0!

It has now been sent to the Education Appropriations Committee, along
with Senate Bill 1238.

Your calls helped defeat similar bills in the past. We need your calls
again to defeat these new threats to homeschool freedom.

ACTION REQUESTED:

Please call as many members of the Senate Education Appropriations
Committee as you can and give them this message:

"Please vote against funding Senate Bill 772 and Senate Bill 1238
which expand the compulsory attendance age. These bills are
unnecessary. They restrict parental choice and waste taxpayer money."

Do not identify yourself as a homeschooler.

> Senate Bill 772 is sponsored by Senator Constantine
> Senate Bill 1238 is sponsored by Senator Wilson

You can ask for Senators Constantine and Wilson by calling Legislative
Services at 1-850-488-4371.

You can contact the Senate Education Appropriations Committee at (850)
487-5140. Their names are listed below:

Sen. J.D. Alexander, chair
Sen. James E. "Jim" King Jr., vice chair
Sen. Larcenia Bullard
Sen. Lee Constantine
Sen. Ron Klein
Sen. Evelyn Lynn
Sen. Lesley "Les" Miller Jr.
Sen. Stephen R. Wise

BACKGROUND:

Raising the compulsory attendance age will not reduce the dropout
rate. In fact, the two states with the best 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
is the 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=2802 .

Sincerely,

Chris Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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