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2/9/2007 4:10:15 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Oregon: Update on Bill That Lowers School Age to 6

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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February 8, 2007

Oregon: Update on Bill That Lowers School Age to 6

Dear HSLDA members and friends:

Earlier this week the Senate Education and General Government
Committee voted 4 to 1 to pass Senate Bill 392 and send it to the full
Senate. Senator Kruse voted against the bill.

Due to the makeup of the Senate, this bill will likely pass the entire
Senate. Our goal is to resume our fight against this bill in the
House. Please be prepared to contact those in the House in the near
future.

Even though Senate Bill 392 is likely to pass the Senate, we still
would like to try to get the bill amended so that it does not apply to
all 6-year-old children. Throughout the Committee hearings we have
heard that Senate Bill 392 is necessary to allow schools to take
action when parents enroll their children in public school at age 6
but then treat school attendance as voluntary.

Amending S.B. 392 to state that any child who is enrolled in the
public school must attend, and subjecting them to the compulsory
attendance laws, would address this problem. Such an amendment would
also allow children who are not ready for school to be kept at home
and would not require homeschool parents to report earlier than they
do now.

Please call and/or email your senator and give him or her the
suggested message below in your own words. It is a good idea to let
your senator know that you are a constituent in his or her district.

REQUESTED ACTION:

1. Please call and/or email your state senator and give him or her
this message:

"Please oppose Senate Bill 392. This bill will prevent parents from
deciding when their child is ready for school. Please amend this bill
to focus on the problem discussed in committee 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 constituent.

You can use HSLDA's legislative toolbox at
http://www.hslda.org/toolbox to find the name and contact information
for your state senator.

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 30. 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. The work session on
Senate Bill 392 is available at http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3734
. The Senate Bill 392 discussion starts 48 minutes into the meeting
and lasts 15 minutes.

According to the Oregon Department of Education the main purpose of
the legislation is to enable schools to be able 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 7
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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More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1105

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