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3/14/2011 4:18:18 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
North Dakota--Calls Needed to Oppose Compulsory Attendance Bill!

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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North Dakota--Calls Needed to Oppose Compulsory Attendance Bill!

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

There is a terrible bill moving through the North Dakota Legislative
Assembly that would significantly expand state control over education.
Current law requires school attendance between the ages of 7 and 16.
Senate Bill 2150 would change the lower age from 7 to 6 beginning next
school year. Additionally, this bill would raise the upper age from 16
to 17 beginning July 1, 2015. Unless a child completed high school
before age 17, the bill would potentially add another two years of
homeschooling for every child, regardless of the child's level of
maturity or readiness to begin formal instruction at age 6 and
regardless of the child's aptitude or interests at age 16.

Unfortunately, HSLDA did not become aware of this bill until late last
week. It passed the Senate by a vote of 46-0 on February 18. It will
be heard by the House Education Committee tomorrow (Tuesday) morning
at 9:00 a.m. This bill has a great deal of momentum at this point and
will be difficult to stop. But hundreds of telephone calls and emails
can turn this bill around. The committee members need to know that
North Dakota families do not want the state to exercise more control
over their children's education. Parents, not school officials, are in
the best position to determine when a child is ready to attend school.
And a child who is 16 may wish to pursue other educational options or
begin a vocation.

ACTION REQUESTED:

1. Please call and/or e-mail each member of the House Education
Committee with this message or something similar in your own words:

"Please vote against Senate Bill 2150 which would expand North
Dakota's compulsory school attendance age. Parents, not state
officials, are best able to determine when their child is ready for
formal education. This bill also 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 the committee members, do not identify yourself as a
homeschooler. This issue is broader than just homeschooling. This is a
parental rights issue that affects all North Dakota families.

2. Please forward this email to every family you know who is not a
member of HSLDA and urge them to contact members of the committee with
this same message.

The members of the House Education Committee are as follows:

RaeAnn Kelsch, Chairman (R-34) rkelsch@nd.gov
Lisa Meier, Vice Chairman (R-32) lmeier@nd.gov
Lyle Hanson (D-12) lhanson@nd.gov
Joe Heilman (R-45) jaheilman@nd.gov
Brenda Heller (R-33) bheller@nd.gov
Bob Hunskor (D-6) bhunskor@nd.gov
Dennis Johnson (R-15) djohnson@nd.gov
Karen Karls (R-35) kkarls@nd.gov
Corey Mock (D-42) crmock@nd.gov
Phillip Mueller (D-24) pmueller@nd.gov
Karen Rohr (R-31) kmrohr@nd.gov
David Rust (R-2) drust@nd.gov
Mark Sanford (R-17) masanford@nd.gov
Mike Schatz (R-36) mischatz@nd.gov
John D. Wall (R-25) jwall@nd.gov

You can also leave a message for your state representative with the
legislative telephone message center at 1-888-NDLEGIS (635-3447) or
701-328-3373 (local).

To view the text of Senate Bill 2150, please visit
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=10589 .

BACKGROUND:

Many education experts have concluded that beginning a child's formal
education too early may actually result in burnout and poor scholastic
performance later.

Lowering the compulsory attendance age erodes the authority of parents
who are in the best position to determine when their child's formal
education should begin. This bill would restrict parents' freedom to
decide if their children are ready for school.

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.

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.

For more information on compulsory attendance, please see our
memorandum at http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=10590

Please call or email today!


Sincerely,

Dewitt T. Black, III
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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