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2/5/2007 4:10:39 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Oregon--More Calls Needed on Bill That Lowers School Age to 6

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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February 5, 2007

Oregon--More Calls Needed on Bill That Lowers School Age to 6

Dear HSLDA members and friends:

Thank you for all of your calls on Senate Bill 392 last week. Your
voice was heard!

Largely due to those calls, the Senate Education and General
Government Committee postponed pushing the bill through the Committee.
However, several on the Committee still want to pass this bill so a
work session is scheduled for the bill tomorrow, Tuesday, February 6
at 8:15 a.m.

We need your calls and emails immediately to urge the Committee to
either defeat the bill or amend it.

Please call and email the Committee members listed below and give them
the suggested message in your own words. (Putting this message into
your own words makes your call even more effective to lawmakers.)
Please call now to oppose lowering the compulsory attendance age from
7 to 6!

REQUESTED ACTION:

1. Please call and email the Education and General Government
Committee members listed below and give them this message:

"Please oppose Senate Bill 392. This bill will prevent parents from
deciding when their child is ready for school. There are better ways
to address the problem of parents who enroll their children in public
school at 5 or 6 and then treat school attendance as voluntary."

Do not identify yourself as a homeschooler, instead you can identify
yourself as a concerned parent and taxpayer.

Education and General Government Committee

Senator Vicki L Walker, Chair (also sponsor of bill)
Phone: 503-986-1707
Email: sen.vickiwalker@state.or.us

Senator Jeff Kruse, Vice-Chair
Phone: 503-986-1701
Email: sen.jeffkruse@state.or.us

Senator Rick Metsger
Phone: 503-986-1726
Email: sen.rickmetsger@state.or.us

Senator Frank Morse
Phone: 503-986-1708
Email: sen.frankmorse@state.or.us

Senator Ben Westlund
Phone: 503-986-1727
Email: sen.benwestlund@state.or.us

BACKGROUND:

As mentioned in earlier e-lerts, Senate Bill 392 would require all
children to be in school once they turn 6 years old. This would mean
that parents would have to submit their homeschool notice to their
local Education Service District (ESD) a year earlier. Additionally,
since the Oregon Administrative Rules require homeschool parents to
test their children in the 3rd, 5th, 8th, and 10th year a child has
been in school, if the compulsory attendance age is lowered, you might
have begin testing your children a year earlier then you have to now.

The Education and General Government Committee held a public hearing
on the bill on January 30th. If you are interested in listening to the
discussion you can hear the hearing at:
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3700 (requires RealPlayer, available
at http://www.real.com/freeplayer/?rppr=downloadcom1). The discussion
on Senate Bill 392 covers the first 50 minutes.

According to the Oregon Department of Education the main purpose of
the legislation is to enable schools to take action when parents
enroll their children in the public school and then treat their
child's attendance as voluntary, taking them to school whenever they
please. This is disruptive to the school and the affected class and
students.

However, there are better ways to handle this problem, and several
other states have enacted legislation to deal with this problem.
Minnesota has a compulsory attendance age of 7 and has dealt with this
problem with a provision that states: "Once a pupil under the age of
seven is enrolled in kindergarten or a higher grade in a public
school, the pupil is subject to the compulsory attendance provisions."
This has the effect the public school system needs but protects
parents from having to enroll their children in a school setting
before they are ready for school.

Some of the problems with lowering the compulsory attendance are
listed below.

> Lowering the compulsory attendance age from 7 to 6 would subject
Oregon home educators to the requirements of the homeschool laws one
year earlier. Homeschool parents would be required to submit the
notice of intent to their local ESD one year earlier than they do now.
Additionally, the Oregon Department of Education could possibly change
the definition of when the "first year" begins for testing purposes
from 7 on September 1 to 6 on September 1, effectively requiring
parents to test in grades 3, 5, 8, and 10 a year earlier than they do
now. (You do not need to share this reason with your legislators.)

> 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.

> It 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 schools. While the Oregon Department of Education stated
in the public hearing that the impact will be minimal, many states
have found otherwise.

For more information on compulsory attendance, please see our
memorandum at http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=1421 .

If you are not yet a member of HSLDA and would like to help us fight
for greater parental rights and homeschool freedom in Oregon please
visit http://www.hslda.org/join/apply.asp .

If you would like to be put on our e-mail list to receive vital
e-lerts you may sign up at
https://secure.hslda.org/hslda/elert/account.asp?Process=Subscribe .

Thank you for your part in fighting for freedom in Oregon!

Sincerely,

Thomas Schmidt
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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-> You can only do so much...

No one can be everywhere at once. And you can't be at home,
teaching your children, while monitoring your state's legislature.
Through electronic legislative services, HSLDA is monitoring state
legislation for you -- watching and listening carefully for any
proposed laws that could erode your right to homeschool.
Join HSLDA today-we'll watch out for your future.

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1942

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