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2/29/2008 2:34:01 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Kansas--Battle Moves to House to Stop Greater State Control Over 6-Year-Olds

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Kansas--Battle Moves to House to Stop
Greater State Control Over 6-Year-Olds

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Yesterday the Kansas Senate voted in favor of Senate Bill 399, a bill
that would make 6-year-olds subject to a blanket government mandate of
school attendance. School might be right for some 6-year-olds--but
exactly the wrong thing for others. Parents know best whether their
6-year-old is ready, not the government.

In addition, this bill will extend the state's truancy and oversight
power over your homeschool another year.

The battle now moves to the House. We expect the bill will be
assigned to the House Education Committee.

We need your calls!

ACTION REQUESTED

Please call members of the House Education Committee and ask them to
reject this harmful bill.

1. Call your own representative if he or she is listed below and give
the message below (in your own words). Use our Legislative Toolbox at
http://www.hslda.org/toolbox to find the name of your representative.

2. In addition to calling your own representative, call several
others. If your last name begins with A-G, call those in group 1; if
your last name begins with H-M, call group 2; N-R, call group 3; S-Z,
call group 4.

Your message can be as simple as: "Please vote NO on S.B. 399. It
will hurt children because many 6-year-olds are not developmentally
ready for school. Parents know their children best. Parents, not the
government, should decide whether they start school at 6 or 7."

Since this bill undermines the authority of all parents, not just
homeschoolers, it is not necessary to state that you are a
homeschooler.

House Education Committee Members:

GROUP 1

Clay Aurand, Chairperson
785-296-7672

Deena Horst, Vice-chairperson
785-296-7501

Pat Colloton
785-296-7631

Barbara Craft
785-296-1754

Owen Donohoe
785-296-7682

John Faber
785-296-7500

GROUP 2

Don Hill
785-296-7641

Benjamin Hodge
785-296-7642

Steve Huebert
785-296-1754

Bill Otto
785-296-7636

Ted Powers
785-296-6014

Marc Rhoades
785-296-7696

GROUP 3

Sheryl Spalding
785-296-7680

Bill Wolf
785-296-7678

Sue Storm, Ranking Minority Member
785-296-7650

Marti Crow
785-296-7643

Geraldine Flaharty
785-296-7651

Judith Loganbill
785-296-7669

GROUP 4

Ann Mah
785-296-7668

Shirley Palmer
785-296-7698

Eber Phelps
785-296-7691

Ed Trimmer
785-296-7122

Valdenia Winn
785-296-6838

BACKGROUND

> You may be told that there is an exemption or exception. This is
misleading. There is NO exemption based on age. Once a child turns
6, compulsory attendance would immediately begin. The only "exemption"
is that an amendment was added yesterday allowing parents to have a
say in whether the 6-year old is enrolled in kindergarten or first
grade.

> The bill establishes a new level of state control over 6-year-olds
and undermines parental authority to make decisions on an individual
basis. Compulsory attendance starts at age 7 now.

>Studies show that some children fail because they are forced into
school too young. And sometimes they never recover. Rather than
forcing a clumsy and expensive one-size-fits-all approach,
parents--and parents alone--should have the right to decide whether a
5-year-old is mature enough emotionally, physically and socially to
start school. Studies have also shown that the academic benefits of
starting school earlier disappear after the child has been in school a
few more years.

> According to the 2005 NAEP, test scores of children from states
which have low compulsory school attendance ages (5-6) did not score
any higher than children from the other states, and in some subjects
their average was actually lower.

> Many education experts have concluded that beginning a child's
formal education too early may actually result in burnout and poor
scholastic performance later.

> A report published February 6, 2007 by the Goldwater Institute
examines Stanford 9 test scores and finds Arizona kindergarten
programs initially improve learning but have no measurable impact on
reading, math, or language arts test scores by fifth grade.

The data show that students in schools with all-day kindergarten
programs have statistically significant higher third-grade test
scores, but there is no impact on fifth-grade scores. This finding is
consistent with previous research. Forcing children into school early
delivers short-term benefits at best.

> Another significant impact of expanding the mandatory schooling is
the inevitable tax increase to pay for more classroom space and
teachers to accommodate the additional students compelled to attend
public schools. When California raised the upper age limit of
compulsory attendance, unwilling students were so disruptive that new
schools had to be built just to handle them and their behavior
problems, all at the expense of the taxpayer.

For more information on compulsory attendance, please see our
memorandum at
http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/Issues/E/Early_Education.asp

Thank you for standing with us for freedom.

Sincerely yours,

Scott A. Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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