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6/1/2010 3:26:22 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Rhode Island: Calls Urgently Needed to Prevent Compulsory Attendance Age Inrease

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

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Another bill has sprung up that would raise the compulsory attendance
age in Rhode Island. SB 2928 is the Senate companion bill to HB 8067,
and would create virtually the same restrictions and problems for
parents in Rhode Island. This bill was introduced just last week, but
it already has a committee hearing scheduled.

As with HB 8067, SB 2928 would subject families to another two years
of government regulation of their education. It would raise the upper
limit of compulsory attendance age in Rhode Island from 16 to 18.

The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Education committee
tomorrow, so we need to act quickly.

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
Please call and leave a message for the group of committee members
that corresponds to the first letter of your last name. A-K should
call group 1, and L-Z should call group 2. If your senator is on the
committee, you should call them regardless of what group they fall in.


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

"Please oppose SB 2928. 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 June 2, if possible. It
is scheduled to be held at the rise of the Senate (when the general
Senate meeting concludes). The Senate meets at 4:00 p.m., so this
meeting will happen sometime soon after that; the amount of time the
Senate uses to meet can vary. The meeting will take place in the
Senate Lounge of the State House at 82 Smith Street, Providence, RI
02903.

SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Group 1 (A-K)
Senator Leo R. Blais
Senator Frank A. DeVall, Jr.
Senator Louis P. DiPalma
Senator James E. Doyle, II

Group 2 (L-Z)
Senator Hanna M. Gallo
Senator Beatrice A. Lanzi
Senator Christopher B. Maselli
Senator Harold M. Metts

Since the Senate is in session, call the office of the President of
the Senate at (401) 222-6655, and leave a message for your senators
there.

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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