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1/25/2012 5:14:54 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Vermont: Freedom Update--Possible Threat Looming

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Vermont: Freedom Update--Possible Threat Looming

January 25, 2012

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

The Vermont Senate Education Committee will be hearing testimony on
Senate Bill 233 this Thursday, January 26, 2012. Retta Dunlap of the
Vermont Home Education Network (VHEN) will be in testifying in
opposition to the bill. While we are not requesting any action at this
time, we plan to keep you informed on the status of this legislation.

As a reminder, Senate Bill 233 would increase the maximum age of
compulsory school attendance from 16 to 18. This bill would subject
homeschool families to the current requirements of notifying the
Department of Education for two more years. Although many families
continue to homeschool students after age 16, it is parents, not the
government, who should determine when children are ready to complete
their formal secondary education and focus on work or college. This is
an important freedom we must preserve. Please be prepared to take
action on this bill in the coming weeks if necessary.

BACKGROUND:

1. According to an October 2011 study released by the U.S. Department
of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES),
raising the compulsory attendance age will not reduce the dropout
rate. In the 2008-2009 school year, the most recent date for which
statistics are available, five of the top six states with the highest
high school completion rates - Vermont (89.6%), Minnesota (87.4%),
North Dakota (87.4%), Iowa (85.7%), and New Jersey (85.3%) - compel
attendance only to age 16. Conversely, the state with the lowest
completion rate - Nevada, at 56.3% - compels attendance to age 18. In
fact, of the five states with the lowest graduation rates in the
country, all five compel attendance to either age seventeen -
Mississippi (62.0%) and South Carolina (66.0%) - or age 18 - Nevada
(56.3%), New Mexico (64.8%), and Louisiana (67.3%). Complete
state-by-state results are available on page 25 of NCES's October 2011
report:
http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2012/2012006.pdf

2. Older children unwilling to learn can cause classroom disruptions
and even violence, making learning harder for their classmates who
truly want to learn.

3. Passing this bill would restrict parents' freedom to decide if
their 16-year-old is ready for college or the workforce. (Some
16-year-olds benefit more from valuable work experience than from
being forced to sit in a classroom.)

4. Another significant impact of expanding the compulsory attendance
age is an inevitable tax burden to pay for more classroom space and
teachers to accommodate the additional students compelled to attend
public schools. When California raised the age 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.

5. A study by Cornell University on raising the age of compulsory
attendance found that there was no correlation between passing a law
to raise the age of compulsory attendance and high school completion
rates. The study shows that specific programs targeting at risk youth
can help improve completion rates, but a law raising the age of
attendance does not. To view the report click here:
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=13526

For more information, please see our Issues Library page on compulsory
attendance age legislation:
http://hslda.org/docs/nche/Issues/S/State_Compulsory_Attendance.asp

We greatly value you and your support--it is a privilege to serve you!
If you or someone you know is not a member of HSLDA, will you consider
taking a moment today to join or recommend us and support our work
defending individual families threatened by government officials and
protecting homeschooling freedom for all?

Join now: http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=13525

Sincerely,

Peter K. Kamakawiwoole, Jr.
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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The freedom HSLDA allows me to have as I homeschool is wonderful!
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