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5/24/2010 9:40:38 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Rhode Island--Action Needed to Prevent Compulsory Attendance Age Increase!

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Rhode Island--Action Needed to Prevent
Compulsory Attendance Age Increase!

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Your continued calls are urgently needed right away to stop House Bill
8067, a bill that would subject families to another two years of
government regulation of their education. It would raise the upper
limit of compulsory school attendance age in Rhode Island from 16 to
18.

This bill has already been heard once in the House Health, Education
and Welfare Committee. The committee voted to hold the bill for
further study, but it has rescheduled it for consideration tomorrow,
May 25.

Parents--not the government--know whether it's best for their 16- and
17-year-olds to stay in a formal education setting or follow some
other path. This bill would increase government control over children
and restrict parents' rights to direct the upbringing and education of
their children.

ACTION REQUESTED

If your representative is listed below, please call and email right
away and ask him or her to leave the compulsory attendance age alone.

Use our Legislative Toolbox at http://www.hslda.org/toolbox to find
your representative and his contact information.

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

"Please oppose HB 8067. This expensive 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- and 17-year-olds should follow."

Since this bill affects all Rhode Island families, you don't need to
identify yourself as a homeschooler.

Also, please attend the committee hearing on May 25, if possible. It
is scheduled to be held at the rise of the House (when the general
House meeting concludes). The House meets at 4:00 p.m., so this
meeting will happen sometime soon after that; the amount of time the
House uses to meet can vary. The meeting will take place in Room 313
of the State House at 148 West River Street, Providence, RI
02904-2626.

HOUSE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND WELFARE COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Representative Samuel A. Azzinaro
(401) 596-1434

Representative Lisa Baldelli-Hunt
(401) 766-1679

Representative Jon D. Brien
(401) 766-9887

Representative Grace Diaz
(401) 575-3641

Representative Frank Ferri
(401) 737-5113

Representative Raymond E. Gallison Jr
(508) 677-4235

Representative Arthur Handy
(401) 785-8996

Representative Joy Hearn
(401) 247-9867

Representative Karen L. MacBeth
(401) 333-5398

Representative Joseph M. McNamara (Chair)
(401) 941-8319

Representative Deborah Ruggiero
(401) 423-0444

Representative Scott Slater
(number not listed)

Representative Peter N. Wasylyk
(401) 831-7730

Representative Robert A. Watson
(401) 222-2259


BACKGROUND

This bill exempts students accepted into an accredited college--but
this provides no help to parents who believe their 16-year-old should
follow a vocationally oriented path. An additional exception is so
complex and full of red tape that it is of little to no value in
protecting freedom--and it is subject to the whim of the school
superintendent.

Those in favor of raising the compulsory school attendance age believe
that it will help graduation rates and reduce the number of dropouts.

However, statistics and studies show that raising the compulsory
school attendance age does not accomplish this. In fact, several
states with the lowest compulsory school attendance ages have the
highest graduation rates.

This bill unnecessarily imposes government regulation on the authority
of parents to make decisions about what is in the best interest of
their children. To learn more you can read the following article
"Raise the Bar, Not the Age" (http://hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=7609 ).

Additional reasons to oppose increasing the compulsory school
attendance age:

More than 20 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.

This bill restricts parents' ability to decide if their 16-year-old is
ready for college or the workforce. Many 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 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 additional information, visit our website at:
http://hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=8268

Thank you for standing with us for freedom!

Standing with you,

Scott A. Woodruff
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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