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2/28/2011 4:35:43 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Montana -- Calls Needed to Oppose Compulsory Attendance Age Bill

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Montana -- Calls Needed to Oppose Compulsory Attendance Age Bill

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Believe it or not, Senate Bill 44 has been resurrected through some
questionable deal-making by both Republicans and Democrats in the
Montana Legislature. This bill would increase the compulsory school
attendance age in Montana from 16 to 18, graduation from high school,
or receipt of a GED as the time when a student may leave school. Your
calls to state senators are needed to put this bad bill down for good.

As reported to you in our e-lert of January 18, 2011, a tie vote by
the Senate Education Committee the day before meant that this bill
would not go forward. A later effort to get the full Senate to vote it
out of committee failed. Thereafter, on February 14, 2011, the Senate
Education Committee voted to table the bill. This should have been the
end of it, but it wasn't. By use of a "silver bullet" procedure
whereby certain bills that are dead under the rules are reconsidered
simply because of an agreement among Senate leaders, Senate Bill 44
has reared its ugly head again. It may be voted on by the full Senate
as early as tomorrow.

If this bill passes, parents will be required to comply with the
homeschool law for an additional two years unless the child first
graduates from high school or obtains a GED. This means that parents
will be locked into another two years of homeschooling at a time when
the child may wish to pursue other educational options or begin a
vocation. As freedom-loving homeschoolers, we oppose any effort to
expand the state's control over education in any form.

Your state senator needs to hear from you today!

Action Requested:

1. Please call and/or email your state senator with this message or
something similar in your own words:

"Please vote against Senate Bill 44 which would increase Montana's
compulsory school attendance age. This bill restricts the right of
parents to choose when a child may pursue other educational or work
options. Requiring the attendance of students who are unwilling to
remain in school beyond age 16 will have a disruptive effect on other
students' learning."

When contacting your senator, do not identify yourself as a
homeschooler. This is broader than just a homeschooling issue.

To obtain the contact information for your senator, please go to
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=10448 .

You can leave a message for senators by calling the Session
Information Desk at (406) 444-4800.

2. Please forward this e-mail to every family you know who is not a
member of HSLDA and urge them to contact their state senators.

Background:
A 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.

Raising the compulsory attendance age will not reduce the dropout
rate. In fact, the two states with the highest high school completion
rates, Maryland at 94.5% and North Dakota at 94.7%, compel attendance
only to age 16. The state with the lowest completion rate (Oregon:
75.4%) compels attendance to age 18. (Figures are three-year averages,
1996 through 1998.)

Twenty-nine 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.

It 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 will benefit more from valuable work experience
than from being forced to sit in a classroom.

To view the text of this bill, please go to
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=10449

For more information on compulsory attendance, please see our
memorandum at http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=10450

Please call or email today!


Sincerely,

Dewitt T. Black, III
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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