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4/30/2007 2:38:30 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Oregon: Calls Needed on Bill That Lowers School Age to 6

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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April 30, 2007

Oregon: Calls Needed on Bill That Lowers School Age to 6

Dear HSLDA members and friends:

Your calls are urgently needed to help stop a compulsory school
attendance bill that has already passed the Senate. The House
Education Subcommittee on Innovation has scheduled a hearing and work
session on Senate Bill 392 for Thursday, May 3.

We have been closely following Senate Bill 392, which would lower the
compulsory attendance age from 7 to 6. The Senate passed the bill in
March by a vote of 19 to 8.

According to the sponsors, the purpose of Senate Bill 392 is to allow
public school officials to enforce attendance of 6-year-olds who are
enrolled in school. Officials say that some parents who enroll their
6-year-olds in public school cause problems by subsequently acting as
if attendance is voluntary.

However, by lowering the age of compulsory school attendance, this
bill could force many parents to send their children to school before
they are ready. Additionally, homeschool parents would be required to
submit their documentation a whole year earlier than they do now.

Please email all of the members of the Subcommittee on Innovation. If
your representative is on the committee, please call him or her as
well. Finally, if you can, please attend the hearing on Thursday.

REQUESTED ACTION:

1) Please email the House Education Subcommittee on Innovation members
listed below and give this message in your own words:

"Please oppose Senate Bill 392. This bill will prevent parents from
deciding when their child is ready for school. Please amend the bill
to require compulsory attendance once parents enroll their 6-year-old
in a public school."

Do not identify yourself as a homeschooler; instead you can identify
yourself as a concerned parent and constituent.

If your representative is on the subcommittee please call him or her
as well. You can use HSLDA's legislative toolbox at
http://www.hslda.org/toolbox to find the name and phone number for
your state representative.

House Education Innovation Subcommittee Members:

Representative Betty Komp (D), Chair
Email: rep.bettykomp@state.or.us

Representative Karen Minnis (R), Vice-Chair
Email: rep.karenminnis@state.or.us

Representative Arnie Roblan (D), Vice-Chair
Email: rep.arnieroblan@state.or.us

Representative Peter Buckley (D) (Chair of the House Education
Committee)
Email: rep.peterbuckley@state.or.us

Representative Ben Cannon (D)
Email: rep.bencannon@state.or.us

Representative John H Dallum (R)
Email: rep.johndallum@state.or.us

Representative Gene Whisnant (R)
Email: rep.genewhisnant@state.or.us

2) If you are able, please come to the hearing on Senate Bill 392 on
Thursday, May 3. The hearing is scheduled to begin a 1 p.m. in Hearing
Room D at the state Capitol. Directions to the Capitol are available
at http://www.leg.state.or.us/capinfo/ .

BACKGROUND:

As mentioned in earlier e-lerts, Senate Bill 392 would require all
children who are 6 years old by September 1 to enroll in school. This
would mean that homeschool parents would have to submit their 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.

According to the sponsors of Senate Bill 392 the main purpose of the
legislation is to enable school officials 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.

> 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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