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3/6/2007 1:42:45 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
New Mexico: Call to Stop Expansion of State Control Over Homeschools

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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March 6, 2007

New Mexico: Call to Stop Expansion of State Control Over Homeschools

Dear New Mexico members and friends,

Earlier we sent you an e-lert about Senate Bill 561 and House Bill
584, two bills which would change the compulsory attendance law in New
Mexico.

The law currently allows 17-year-olds to be excused from school if
they are gainfully employed or engaged in an alternative form of
education. The law also provides for children under 8 to be excused
from attendance. However, both of these exceptions will be eliminated
by these bills, and the compulsory attendance age will be from 5 to 18
years, period.

Senate Bill 561 has already passed the Senate, and will be heard in the
House Education Committee on Wednesday, March 7, 2007, at 8 a.m.

REQUESTED ACTION

Please call or email the members of the House Education Committee
before tomorrow morning and give them this message:

"Please vote against Senate Bill 561. It takes away from parents the
option to choose what is best for their children. It would force
unwilling, disruptive students into the classroom when valuable work
experience or an alternative form of education is available for them."


You do not need to mention that you homeschool.

Legislators to call:

Chair Rick Miera, 986-4852, rbmiera@comcast.net
Vice Chair Richard D. Vigil, 986-4242, rrrvigil@plateautel.net
Andrew J. Barreras, 986-4243
Nora Espinoza, 986-4221, noralee@cableone.net
Mary Helen Garcia, 986-4435, maryhelen.garcia@nmlegis.gov
Jimmie C. Hall, 986-4215, jimmie.hall@nmlegis.gov
Dianne Miller Hamilton, 986-4221, dianne38john4132@zianet.com
Rhonda S. King, 986-4438
Sheryl Williams Stapleton, 986-4774, sheryl.stapleton@nmlegis.gov
Thomas E. Swisstack, 986-4254, tswiss1@msn.com
W. C. "Dub" Williams, 986-4454
Teresa A. Zanetti, 986-4451, electzanetti@comcast.net

BACKGROUND

> According to the 2005 NAEP test scores, children from states that
have low compulsory attendance ages (5-6) did not score any higher
than children from the other states, and in some subjects their
average was actually lower.

> 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.

> A report published February 6, 2007 by the Goldwater Institute
examines Stanford 9 test scores and finds Arizona kindergarten
programs initially improve learning but have no measurable impact on
reading, math, or language arts test scores by fifth grade.

The data show that students in schools with all-day kindergarten
programs have statistically significant higher 3rd-grade test scores,
but there is no impact on 5th-grade scores. This finding is consistent
with previous research. Forcing children into school early delivers
short-term benefits at best.

> Raising the compulsory attendance age will not reduce the dropout
rate. In fact, the two states with the highest 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 17-year-old is
ready for college or the workforce. (Some 17-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 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 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/docs/nche/Issues/E/Early_Education.asp

Sincerely,

Christopher J. Klicka, Esq.
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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-> Are you "organizationally challenged"?

Finding the time to organize your home, your schedule, and your
silverware drawer is difficult enough. We have something that will
take the pressure off as you organize your homeschool.
Home School Minder will help with your schedule, lesson plans,
grades, transcripts, and much more . . . everything except those
missing socks. Free to families who join HSLDA for two years.

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1935

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