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4/29/2011 2:29:11 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Rhode Island--Help Stop Compulsory Age from Rising to 18

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Rhode Island--Help Stop Compulsory Age from Rising to 18

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Rhode Island's Senate Education Committee voted yesterday to hold SB
46 (increases compulsory school attendance age from 16 to 18) for
"further study." This means we have more time to press our message
home! When the committee finally votes, we want them to protect
freedom and vote "no."

REQUESTED ACTION

1. If your senator is on the Senate Education Committee (see list
below), Please call him or her to let them know you oppose SB 46. Use
our Legislative Toolbox at http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=11040 to
find out who your senator is.

2. If your senator is not on the Senate Education Committee, please
call the chairperson, secretary or vice chairperson.

3. Your message can be as simple as:

"Please vote no on SB 46. Parents, not state officials, know whether
their 16-year-old young adult should pursue formal education or some
other preparation for life responsibilities. The extra cost of forcing
unwilling young adults into a formal school setting should not be
added to our tax burden."

This bill would undermine the freedom of all parents. It is not
necessary for you to identify yourself as a homeschooler.

4. Please pass this message on to all your friends. This bill will
negatively impact almost everyone in Rhode Island--children, parents,
and taxpayers.

CONTACT INFORMATION--SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE

Senator Frank A. DeVall, Jr.
sen-devall@rilin.state.ri.us
(401) 433-4353

Senator Louis P. DiPalma
sen-dipalma@rilin.state.ri.us
(401) 847-8540

Senator Hanna M. Gallo, Chairperson
sen-gallo@rilin.state.ri.us
(401) 942-8566

Senator Beatrice A. Lanzi, Secretary
sen-lanzi@rilin.state.ri.us
(401) 946-7125

Senator Harold M. Metts, Vice Chairperson
sen-metts@rilin.state.ri.us
(401) 272-0112

Senator Edward J. O'Neill
sen-eoneill@rilin.state.ri.us
(401) 728-3295

Senator Glenford J. Shibley
sen-shibley@rilin.state.ri.us
(401) 222-2708

BACKGROUND

You may be told there is a "homeschool exception." SB 46 would allow a
child to withdraw from school if he has "documented completion of a
home school program at the high school level by submitting a
certificate or letter to the department of education." But this is
vague and too subject to bureaucratic interpretation to offer families
any meaningful hope.

The department might take a parental letter of completion at face
value. Or it might decide to create state standards for what
constitutes "completion" and what is necessary to "document" it. Or it
might establish state standards for what a high school level
homeschool program must contain. In the end, many families might find
the new burdens more onerous than filing annual paperwork for two
additional years until their child turns 18.

Not all 16- and 17-year-olds belong in a formal school setting. Some
would be better off in a work training program, apprenticeship,
obtaining valuable work experience, etc. This decision belongs to
parents, not state officials.

Pushing unwilling older students into the classroom will disrupt the
other students who truly want to learn. Since many 17-year-olds have
the size and strength of adults, classrooms could become even more
violent.

Raising the compulsory age does not help young people. Some of the
states with the highest graduation rates have the lowest compulsory
attendance cut-off age. Most states have a compulsory attendance
cut-off age of 16 or less.

Taxes would inevitably rise to pay for more classroom space and
teachers. When California raised the upper age limit of compulsory
attendance, taxpayers were forced to pay for the building of new
schools just to handle the older, unwilling students and their
behavior problems.

For more information, please see our memorandum on compulsory
attendance age legislation. http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=11041

Thank you for your calls on behalf of freedom in Rhode Island!

Sincerely,

Scott Woodruff
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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