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9/7/2007 4:55:30 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
New Hampshire--Please Call Governor to Clear Up Confusion

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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New Hampshire--Please Call Governor to Clear Up Confusion

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

There is new controversy regarding legislation that increases the New
Hampshire compulsory school attendance age from 16 to 18.

In July, the New Hampshire Legislature passed House Bill 87 with
modifications to "clarify" Senate Bill 18, which passed in June.
Because of drafting errors, language in House Bill 87 makes the new
compulsory attendance age effective on or about September 15, 2007.
However, because of other language in the bill, enforcement power
granted to truant officers is not effective until July 2009.
Apparently, the Senate tried to fix this problem earlier this week,
but all Senate Republicans voted against suspending Senate rules to
allow a fix to be made.

While truant officers at the school district level are not required to
enforce the compulsory attendance age increase, other state agencies
might be able to use the law in other proceedings such as educational
neglect and other child welfare cases. Members of the Home Education
Advisory Council (HEAC) will address this issue at their next
scheduled meeting.

We are asking you to call Governor John Lynch and your legislators to
ask them to resolve the situation.

ACTION REQUESTED

Please call Governor John Lynch, as well as your senator and
representative, and in your own words, give them the following
message:

"The compulsory school attendance age should not have been raised at
all, but I have now learned that the new age (18) will be enforced
this month rather than July 2009, as originally intended. Because of
this, 16- and 17-year-olds who are now legally not attending school
will be considered truant. I am asking Governor Lynch to issue an
executive order specifying that no school district or state agency
will have the authority to enforce or compel compulsory attendance to
age 18 until July 2009."

For legislator contact information, go to HSLDA's legislative toolbox
at http://capwiz.com/hslda/home/

HSLDA is working with state homeschool leaders and public officials to
determine if and how this situation can be resolved. We will keep you
informed of this issue and will work to find a resolution that is in
the best interests of New Hampshire homeschoolers.

Thank you for all you do to preserve and protect homeschooling freedom
in New Hampshire!


BACKGROUND

For more information and news reports on this issue, go to:

http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=4380
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=4381
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=4382

Raising the compulsory attendance age does not solve the problems that
proponents point to as reasons to increase the compulsory age
(primarily 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.) While the current law
contains provisions that may address homeschoolers concerns, HSLDA
opposes this legislation and hopes that it can be repealed before
going into effect in 2009.

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.
Furthermore, raising the age of compulsory attendance violates
parental authority by placing school officials in a position of
determine what is best for children.

For more information on compulsory attendance, please see our
memorandum at http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=4383 .


Sincerely,

Michael P. Donnelly
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1099

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