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3/12/2007 4:20:30 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Illinois: Victory and Calls Needed to Stop Expansion of Truancy Laws

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Illinois: Victory and Calls Needed to Stop Expansion of Truancy Laws

Dear HSLDA members and friends:

Good news! Last week we gave you notice about two bills introduced by
Senator Kwame Raoul, Senate Bill 541 and Senate Bill 543. Thankfully,
S.B. 541, which was the more harmful bill, was indefinitely held in
committee. This bill would have increased the government's control of
your homeschool for two more years by lowering the compulsory
attendance age from 7 to 5.

However, S.B. 543 passed the committee and will soon be voted on by
the full Senate. This bill extends the truancy laws to those who are
in kindergarten by defining "dropout" as including any child enrolled
in kindergarten (ages 5 and 6) whose parents have removed him from
school because they do not believe he is ready to attend. This bill
will limit parental freedom to choose what is best for their children.

We are working closely with Ralph Garcia and the Christian Home
Educators Coalition to oppose these bills.

REQUESTED ACTION

Please call your senator and give this message:

"Please vote against S.B. 543. This bill takes control away from the
parents and gives it to the state by making children start school
before they are ready. S.B. 543 is unnecessary, restricts parental
choice, and wastes taxpayers' money since there is no study showing
any long-term positive benefits from children attending school early."

Do not identify yourself as a homeschooler.

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=3879 .


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.

> 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.

> Another significant impact of expanding the mandatory schooling is
the 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 upper age limit 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

Thank you for standing with us in this fight for freedom.

Sincerely,

Christopher J. Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1108

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