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10/18/2006 11:59:23 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Pennsylvania--Calls Needed to Oppose Expanding Compulsory Attendance Age

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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October 18, 2006

Pennsylvania--Calls Needed to Oppose
Expanding Compulsory Attendance Age

Dear HSLDA members and friends:

Bad news! Yesterday House Bill 377 passed the Pennsylvania Senate
Education Committee and was sent to the full Senate for consideration.
This bill would lower the compulsory attendance age in Pennsylvania
from 8 to 6 for school districts of the first class.

House Bill 377 passed the House of Representatives in June of 2005.
Homeschooling families in Pennsylvania strongly opposed the bill and
since that time it has remained dormant in the Senate Education
Committee. Now, at the 11th hour, it has the momentum for quick
passage by the Senate. Your calls are needed to stop this bad bill
before it becomes law, perhaps even this week.

Since Philadelphia is the only school district of the first class in
Pennsylvania at this time, it is the only school district that would
be affected by this legislation. However, we are concerned that the
next step the General Assembly will take is expanding this compulsory
attendance requirement to all school districts in Pennsylvania.

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 your state senator 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."

You can find the name and telephone number of your state senator by
using HSLDA's Legislative Toolbox at
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3376 .

2. Please forward this email to every family you know who is not a
member of HSLDA and urge them to contact their own state senator with
this same message.

BACKGROUND:

There is a qualified exemption in House Bill 377 for homeschooling
parents whose children are between ages 6 and 8, in that they would
not have to comply with the home education statute until their
children reach the current compulsory attendance age of 8. However,
these parents would still have to notify the local school district
that they intend to provide their child's education between ages 6 and
8. How the state would determine that a parent is providing this
education is yet to be determined.

The House Education Committee amended this bill to exempt from
compulsory attendance children under 17 who have completed the
graduation requirements of a home education program. While this
amendment was favorable to homeschoolers, the primary purpose of the
bill remains unacceptable.

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.

To view the text of this bill, please go to
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3377 .

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

Please call today!

Sincerely,


Dewitt T. Black, III
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1100

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