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3/13/2007 1:37:54 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Maryland: Calls Needed to Stop Expanded State Control Over Education

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Maryland: Calls Needed to Stop Expanded State Control Over Education

Dear HSLDA members and friends:

Your calls are needed to stop a bill that would expand Maryland's
compulsory school attendance age and take away parents' power to make
choices.

House Bill 546 would require students and families to continue to meet
compulsory attendance requirements until the student turns 17 years
old (the current limit is 16). It would take away the right of
parents to decide what is best for their 16-year-old--continued
schooling or preparation for a career.

Homeschool families would be subjected to another full year of
portfolio review hassle, or the financial obligations that come with
participating in an umbrella group.

The bill is scheduled for a hearing before the House Ways and Means
Committee on Wednesday, March 14 at 1 p.m.

The members of the committee need to hear from families who oppose
this expensive and unnecessary expansion of state control over
education. Legislators need to know that families in Maryland want to
continue to make their own decisions.

ACTION REQUESTED:

Please call the members of the House Ways and Means Committee
immediately and urge them to vote against House Bill 546. Your
message can be as simple as this:

"Please vote against House Bill 546. It would expand attendance
requirements for older teens until age 17. This bill will waste
taxpayer dollars by requiring the attendance of students who are
unwilling to remain in school. It restricts the right of parents to
choose educational or career options for their children."

Please do not identify yourself as a homeschooling family, since this
issue is broader than just homeschooling.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Sheila E. Hixson, Chair
(410) 841-3469

Ann Marie Doory Vice-Chair
(410) 841-3476

Joseph R. Bartlett
(410) 841-3107

Kumar P. Barve
(410) 841-3464

Jon S. Cardin
(410) 841-3833

D. Page Elmore
(410) 841-3433

Ronald A. George
(410) 841-3439

James W. Gilchrist
(410) 841-3744

Carolyn J. B. Howard
(410) 841-3919

Jolene Ivey
(410) 841-3478

J. B. Jennings
(410) 841-3698

Anne R. Kaiser
(410) 841-3036

Nancy J. King
(410) 841-3037

Susan W. Krebs
(410) 841-3200

Robert A. McKee
(410) 841-3447

Peter F. Murphy
(410) 841-3247

John A. Olszewski, Jr.
(410) 841-3458

Craig L. Rice
(410) 841-3090

Justin D. Ross
(410) 841-3652

Melvin L. Stukes
(410) 841-3544

Frank S. Turner
(410) 841-3246

Jay Walker
(410) 841-3581

BACKGROUND

> 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.

> Mandating attendance until age 17 would restrict parents' freedom to
decide if their 16-year-old is ready for college or the work force.
(Some 16-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 school.

To view the text of this bill, please go to:
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3880

For more information on compulsory attendance, please see our
memorandum at http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3623.

Thank you for standing with us for freedom.

Sincerely Yours,

Scott A. Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney


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