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3/20/2008 5:14:04 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Maryland--Calls Needed to Oppose Compulsory Attendance Bills

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Maryland--Calls Needed to Oppose Compulsory Attendance Bills

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Your calls are needed to defend parental freedom against two bills
that have emerged from committees. These bills aim to expand state
control over young people by expanding the compulsory school
attendance age.

Senate Bill 436 would raise the age of compelled school attendance
from 16 to 17. House Bill 21 would raise the age from 16 to 18. Both
bills have passed committees in their respective houses and could be
voted on by the Senate or House any day. Raising the age to 18 will
cost the taxpayer at least $85 million every year, according to
official sources--at a time of financial uncertainty when the burdens
of other taxes are already rising.

Parents alone know whether it's best for their 16- and 17-year-olds to
stay in a formal education setting or follow some other path. The
government cannot know the needs of individual students. One size does
not fit all when it comes to school attendance.

ACTION REQUESTED:

Please call your senator and your representative to express your
opposition. Use our legislative toolbox to see who your senator and
representative is at http://www.hslda.org/toolbox .

When talking to your senator, refer to S.B. 436, the Senate bill.
When talking to your representative, refer to H.B. 21, the House bill.
Your message can be as simple as:

"Please oppose (S.B. 436 or H.B. 21). This costly bill will force
unwilling, unmotivated older teens to remain in classrooms where they
will cause disruption. Protect the right of parents to decide what
educational or vocational path their 16- and 17-year-olds should
follow."

It is not necessary to identify yourself as a homeschooling family,
since this bill undermines the rights of all parents.

BACKGROUND

> You may be told S.B. 436 contains an exception for homeschoolers.
This is not correct. The bill merely moves the homeschool language of
the current statute from one place to another.

> You may be told S.B. 436 contains an exception for students who have
graduated. This is not true as applied to homeschooled or private
schooled students. The only students who are exempted are those with
a "Maryland High School Diploma," which is a specific type of diploma
that can only be issued by a public school or the state.

S.B. 436 originally would have raised the compulsory age to 18. The
Senate committee has recommended adopting an amendment that it would
reduce it to 17. A one-year increase in state control over young
people is one year too much.

> Raising the compulsory attendance age will not reduce the dropout
rate. Some of states with the lowest completion rates compel
attendance to age 18.

> Twenty-eight 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.

> Mandating attendance until age 17 or 18 would restrict parents'
freedom to decide if their 16 or 17-year-old is ready for college or
the work force. Some 16- or 17-year-olds who are not academically
inclined benefit more from valuable work experience than from being
forced to sit in a classroom.

>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. Legislative staff estimate H.B. 21 will cost at
least $95 million per year. If S.B 436 is amended to make 17 the age
of compelled attendance, the cost has not been officially estimated,
but would probably be at least $40 million per year.

For more information on compulsory attendance, please see our
memorandum at http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3623 .

Thank you for standing with us for freedom.

Sincerely Yours,

Scott Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1100

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