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10/25/2007 9:43:55 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Pennsylvania--Call to Oppose Legislation Lowering Compulsory Attendance Age

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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October 25, 2007

Pennsylvania--Calls Needed to Oppose
Legislation Lowering Compulsory Attendance Age

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Bad news! House Bill 118 received final approval by the Pennsylvania
House of Representatives on Tuesday of this week by a vote of 141 to
58. It has now been referred to the Senate Education Committee for
consideration. This bill would lower the compulsory attendance age in
Pennsylvania from 8 to 6 for school districts of the first class.

House Bill 118 now has the momentum for quick passage by the Senate.
Your calls are needed to stop this bad bill before it becomes law!

Since Philadelphia is the only school district of the first class in
Pennsylvania at this time, it is the only school district that would
be affected by this legislation. However, we are concerned that the
next step the General Assembly will take is expanding this compulsory
attendance requirement to all school districts in Pennsylvania.

There is a qualified exemption in the bill for homeschooling parents
whose children are between ages 6 and 8, in that they would not have
to comply with the home education statute until their children reach
the current compulsory attendance age of 8. However, these parents
would still have to notify the local school district that they intend
to provide their child's education between ages 6 and 8. How the state
would determine that a parent is providing this education is yet to be
determined.

HSLDA opposes any legislation lowering the compulsory school
attendance age because it further erodes parental rights in making
decisions which affect the educational preparedness of their children.


ACTION REQUESTED:

1. Please contact as many members of the Senate Education Committee as
possible and your own state senator with this message:

"Please vote against House Bill 118. This bill restricts a parent's
right to choose when a child is ready for formal education. This bill
will also waste taxpayer dollars, since there is nothing to indicate
that early schooling results in any educational advantage for the
child."

Members of the Committee are as follows:

James J. Rhoades, Chair - (717) 787-2637

Jeffrey E. Piccola, Vice Chair - (717) 787-6801

Raphael J. Musto, Minority Chair - (717) 787-7105

Joseph B. Scarnati, III, Ex-Officio - (717) 787-7084

Lisa Baker, (717) 787-7428

Patrick M. Browne - (717) 787-1349

Mike Folmer - (717) 787-5708

Robert M. Tomlinson - (717) 787-5072

Andrew E. Dinniman - (717) 787-5709

Vincent J. Hughes - (717) 787-7112

Gerald J. LaValle - (717) 787-3076


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=4493

2. Please forward this email to every family you know who is not a
member of HSLDA and urge them to contact members of the Committee and
their own state senator with this same message.

BACKGROUND:

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. The bill 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 school.

To view the text of this bill, please go to
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=4494.

For more information on compulsory attendance, please see our
memorandum at http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=2051.

Please call today!

Sincerely,

Dewitt T. Black, III
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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