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5/17/2007 10:42:21 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Oregon--Calls Urgently Needed to Stop Lowering School Attendance Age

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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May 17, 2007

Oregon--Calls Urgently Needed to Stop Lowering School Attendance Age

Dear HSLDA members and friends:

As many of you have been following over the past few months, there is
a bill in the Oregon Legislature that would lower the compulsory
school attendance age from 7 to 6. This bill passed the House
Education Committee and will now go before the entire House.

If passed, Senate Bill 392 would increase the state's control over
when a child is required to be in school. Many children are not ready
for formal education at age 6. Senate Bill 392 will prevent parents
from deciding whether it is in their children's best interest to wait
until they are 7 to begin schooling.

While Representative John Dallum, a homeschool-friendly legislator,
was able to attach an amendment that would require the Department of
Education to establish procedures to allow a 6-year-old to opt out
until age 7, this is not good enough.

Senate Bill 392 still gives the state the control over when a
6-year-old must attend school. The Department of Education has already
stated that their goal is to force younger children into school as
they believe early education is necessary for all children. There is a
concerted effort across the country to require 5- and even 4-year-olds
to attend school even though the majority of research demonstrates
that any gain is short-lived, and that beginning school early may
increase in negative social behavior.

Please call and email your representatives now and urge them to defeat
Senate Bill 392. We believe the vote will be very close so every
contact is important. Remember, this bill is not only a homeschool
issue as it will affect every family in Oregon. Please feel free to
pass e-lert on to friends and family and ask them to call as well.

REQUESTED ACTION:

Please call and email your state representatives urging them to vote
against Senate Bill 392. In your own words tell them why you are
opposed to this bill. The message could be as simple as:

"Please oppose Senate Bill 392. This bill will prevent parents from
deciding when their child is ready for school and give more control to
the state. Parents have the primary responsibility to direct the
education and upbringing of their children. Please ensure this bill is
defeated."

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

You can use HSLDA's legislative toolbox at
http://www.hslda.org/toolbox to identify your state representative and
find their contact information.

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.

While there are better ways to handle this problem we have learned
that the House might be willing to kill this bill and drop this entire
issue.

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 J. Schmidt
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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