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6/10/2010 12:07:31 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Rhode Island--Action Still Needed on Both Compulsory Attendance Bills!

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Rhode Island--Action Still Needed on Both Compulsory Attendance Bills!


Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Last night, the House of Representatives voted to pass HB 8067.
Yesterday was expected to be the last day of the session, but the
opportunity for bills to be considered and passed has been extended to
include today. The only thing standing between this bill and passage
is a hearing in the Senate Education Committee and a vote on the floor
of the Senate.

Also, less likely but still possible, the Senate Education Committee
could still vote to pass SB2928, which could then move through both
houses.

Both bills 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.

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 your senator as soon as you can at their listed number
available on the Rhode Island website:
http://hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=8464

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."

If you don't reach your senator personally, please leave a message for
them at the capitol by calling the office of the President of the
Senate at (401) 222-6655.

Since this message will probably be relayed by a third party, simply
give your name, number, and ask your representative to oppose HB 8067.


Ask your senator to oppose it should it pass the House tonight.

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

BACKGROUND

HB 8067 only has two exemptions. The first is for 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.

SB 2928 has more exemptions, including a provision for graduation from
a home instruction program. However, for most families, this bill
would have the same effect: subjecting them to two more years of
burdensome reporting requirements.

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.

These bills unnecessarily impose 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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