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2/14/2012 5:03:16 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Maryland--Call Now to Stop Compulsory Age Expansion

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Maryland--Call Now to Stop Compulsory Age Expansion

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Your calls are needed immediately to stop an additional bill that
would raise the ending age for compulsory school attendance in
Maryland.

Senate Bill 362 would raise the compulsory attendance age from 16 to
17 statewide in 2014, and to age 18 in 2016. Catherine Pugh is the
primary sponsor. It will be heard by the Senate Education, Health and
Environmental Affairs Committee this week.

This bill would take away your freedom to decide whether school or
some other path is best for your 16- and 17-year-old to follow.

Requested Action

1. If you live in the district of one of the committee members listed
below, please call by this Friday. Visit our Legislative Toolbox
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=13766 and type in your ZIP code to
find out who your senator is. Even senators who you think already
oppose the bill need to hear from you.

Your message can be as simple as:

"Please vote no on SB 362 which would raise the age of compulsory
school attendance from 16 to 17, then 18. Parents, not state
officials, know whether their 16- or 17-year-old young adult should
pursue formal education or some other preparation for life
responsibilities. The cost of forcing unwilling young adults into a
formal school setting should not be added to our tax burden."

Committee Member Contact Information

Joan Carter Conway, Chair
(410) 841-3145, (301) 858-3145
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3145 (toll free)

Roy P. Dyson, Vice-Chair
(410) 841-3673, (301) 858-3673
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3673 (toll free)

Joanne C. Benson
(410) 841-3148, (301) 858-3148
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3148 (toll free)

Bill Ferguson
(410) 841-3600, (301) 858-3600
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3600 (toll free)

J. B. Jennings
(410) 841-3706, (301) 858-3706
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3706 (toll free)

Karen S. Montgomery
(410) 841-3625, (301) 858-3625
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3625 (toll free)

Paul G. Pinsky
(410) 841-3155, (301) 858-3155
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3155 (toll free)

Edward R. Reilly
(410) 841-3568, (301) 858-3568
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3568 (toll free)

James C. Rosapepe
(410) 841-3141, (301) 858-3141
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3141 (toll free)

Bryan W. Simonaire
(410) 841-3658, (301) 858-3658
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3658 (toll free)

Ronald N. Young
(410) 841-3575, (301) 858-3575
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3575 (toll free)

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

3. Forward this email on to all of your friends, and ask them to call
the committee members as well, if they live in their districts.

Background

The bill seems to have a homeschool exemption. However, the
"exemption" only applies if a family continues to comply with the
compulsory attendance laws. Therefore it is no exemption at all!

It exempts students who have a "Maryland high school diploma," but not
homeschool graduates.

Not all 16- and 17-year-olds belong in a formal school setting. Some
would be better off in a work training program or apprenticeship,
obtaining valuable work experience. 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 school age does not help young people. Some of
the states with the highest graduation rates have the lowest
compulsory attendance cut-off age.

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.

One of the important legal bulwarks for homeschooling in Maryland has
been the simplicity of the Maryland homeschool statute. It allows any
family to provide "regular, thorough instruction, in the studies
usually taught in public schools to same-age children" instead of
public school attendance. While regulations have been adopted to help
implement this statute, they are not actually part of the statute, and
this helps protect freedom. But SB 362 actually inserts the
homeschool regulations into the statute. This is a threat to
homeschool freedom.

For more information, please see our Issues Library entry on
compulsory attendance http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=13556 .

Thank you for your calls on behalf of freedom in Maryland.

Sincerely,

Scott Woodruff
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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