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3/31/2008 1:47:38 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Maryland--Calls Needed to Oppose Discriminatory Compulsory Attendance Bill

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

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Your calls are needed to stop a discriminatory bill that would subject
16-year-olds to compulsory school attendance, and force families to
be under the burden of the homeschool regulations one more year.

Senate Bill 436 discriminates against homeschoolers. Sixteen-year-olds
who have graduated from public school would be exempt from the law,
but those who have graduated from private school or a homeschool would
not. This is illogical and unfair. Studies universally show that
private school and homeschool students perform better on tests. Why
should the students in the group with the lowest test scores be
allowed to be exempt, but not those with the highest? This is
outrageous! All 16-year-old graduates should be treated the same.

Parents alone know whether it's best for their 16-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.

Please call before Wednesday, April 2 at 1 p.m., when the hearing is
scheduled in the House Ways and Means Committee. The bill has already
passed the Senate.

ACTION REQUESTED:

Please call members of the committee to express your opposition.

1. Call your own delegate, if he or she is on the committee (see list
below). Use our Legislative Toolbox to see who your delegate is at
http://www.hslda.org/toolbox .

2. Whether or not your delegate is on the committee, call several
other committee members. If your name begins with A-G, call those we
have listed in group 1. If your last name begins with H-M, call group
2. If your last name begins with L-R, call group 3. Others call group
4.

You can use the background information below to develop your own
thoughts, or your message can be as simple as:

"Please oppose Senate Bill 436. It discriminates against homeschool
and private school graduates. This multimillion dollar proposal 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 paths their 16-year-olds should
follow."

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

COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Group 1

Sheila Hixson, Chair
(410) 841-3469

Ann Doory, Vice-Chair
(410) 841-3476

Joseph Bartlett
(410) 841-3080

Kumar Barve
(410) 841-3464

Jon Cardin
(410) 841-3833

Group 2

D. Page Elmore
(410) 841-3433

C. William Frick
(410) 841-3454

Ron George
(410) 841-3439

James Gilchrist
(410) 841-3744

Carolyn Howard
(410) 841-3919

Group 3

Jolene Ivey
(410) 841-3478

J. B Jennings
(410) 841-3698

Anne Kaiser
(410) 841-3036

Susan Krebs
(410) 841-3200

Peter Murphy
(410) 841-3247

John Olszewski
(410) 841-3458

Group 4

Craig Rice
(410) 841-3090

Justin Ross
(410) 841-3652

Melvin Stukes
(410) 841-3544

Frank Turner
(410) 841-3246

Jay Walker
(410) 841-3581


BACKGROUND

> The graduation "exception" applies to students who have obtained a
"Maryland High School Diploma." This means a public school or
state-issued diploma.

> You may be told there is an "exception" for homeschoolers. That is
not true. The bill simply moves the homeschool statute from one
location in the lawbooks to a different one.

> Raising the compulsory school attendance age will not reduce the
dropout rate. Some 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 would restrict parents' freedom to
decide if their 16-year-old is ready for college or the work force.
Some 16-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. The fiscal note attached to this bill indicates
Maryland taxpayers should expect to pay probably at least $40 million
more per year.

To view the text of this bill, please go to:
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=4806 .

For more information on compulsory school 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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