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2/12/2007 2:52:37 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Michigan: Calls Needed to Stop Mandatory Kindergarten

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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February 12, 2007

Michigan: Calls Needed to Stop Mandatory Kindergarten

Dear Michigan members and friends,

Yet another bill to extend compulsory attendance has been introduced
in Michigan. Senate Bill 162 will lower the compulsory attendance age
from 6 to 5. It will also make kindergarten mandatory. Governor
Granholm has made this bill and raising the compulsory attendance age
to 18 two of her major objectives this year!

Senate Bill 162 would give the government another year of authority
over ALL children, including homeschoolers.

We hope your calls will cause the sponsors to either withdraw their
sponsorship, not introduce such a bill again or not try to bring this
bill up for a vote. Your calls to the governor will let her know the
opposition to her initiative.

On Wednesday, we will send out another e-lert for you to call your
state representative and senator asking them to oppose both the
mandatory kindergarten bill (S.B. 162) AND the expansion of
compulsory attendance from 16 to 18 (S.B. 11 and H.B. 4042).

We are working closely with Dennis Smith of INCH and the Home School
Legislative Action Committee and legislators to initiate this massive
phone and email blitz to the governor's office and the bill sponsors
and a follow up email to your own representatives and senators this
week.

REQUESTED ACTION:

1. Please call Governor Granholm and give her the message below.
Constituent Services number for Governor Granholm: 517-335-7858 or
517-373-3400.

2. Please call or email as many of the sponsors of the bills and give
them this message:

"Please abandon your efforts to lower the age of compulsory school
attendance in Senate Bill 162. It forces children to school before
they are ready and takes the important decision of when each child is
ready for school away from the parents, who best know their child's
needs."

You do not need to identify that you homeschool--just that you are a
concerned parent and taxpayer.

Legislator sponsors to contact:

Irma Clark-Coleman (primary sponsor): (517) 373-0990,
SenIClark-Coleman@senate.michigan.gov
Deborah Cherry: (517) 373-1636, SenDCherry@senate.michigan.gov
Hansen Clarke: (517) 373-7346, SenHansenClarke@senate.michigan.gov
Gilda Jacobs: (517) 373-7888, SenGJacobs@senate.michigan.gov
John Gleason: (517) 373-0142, SenJGleason@senate.michigan.gov
Martha Scott: (517) 373-7748, SenMScott@senate.michigan.gov
Tupac Hunter: (517) 373-0994, SenTAHunter@senate.michigan.gov
Jim Barcia: (517) 373-1777, SenJBarcia@senate.michigan.gov
Glenn Anderson: (517) 373-1707, SenGAnderson@senate.michigan.gov
Dennis Olshove: (517) 373-8360, SenDOlshove@senate.michigan.gov
Liz Brater: (517) 373-2406, SenLBrater@senate.michigan.gov
Michael Switalski: (517) 373-7315, SenMSwitalski@senate.michigan.gov

BACKGROUND:

The stakes have risen. With the Democratic majority in the House and
the governor's push in her recent address to the Legislature, the
mandatory kindergarten bill and expansion of the compulsory attendance
bill to 18 looks more of a possibility.

Governor Granholm said:

"We'll begin with an important expansion of early education. We'll
provide new funding to school districts to offer a full day of
preschool to some 26,000 four-year-olds in districts that provide full
day kindergarten...At the same time, I'll ask this Legislature to
require all students to attend kindergarten. It's hard to believe--in
fact, it's ridiculous--that we don't require it today. I'd also like
you to fix another absurd law by requiring all students to attend
school until they are 18. A law enacted in 1895 says it's OK to drop
out when you turn 16. Maybe it was OK then, but it is not OK now, and
we all know it."

It is time to flood the Legislature with calls--starting with the
sponsors!

Reasons for opposing lower compulsory attendance age:

> 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 from 6 to 5 would subject
Michigan home educators to the requirements of the homeschool statute
one year earlier. (You do not need to share this reason with your
legislators.)

> 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.

> 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. When California increased 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/docs/nche/Issues/E/Early_Education.asp

Thanks for taking the time to call!

Sincerely,

Christopher J. Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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