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Date:
From:
Subject:

3/22/2012 5:08:33 PM
Scott Woodruff--HSLDA
Maryland--Call to Stop Compulsory Age Increase, More Regulatory Power

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Maryland--Call Immediately to Stop
Compulsory Age Increase, More Regulatory Power

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Your calls are needed urgently to stop a bill that would raise the
ending age for compulsory school attendance in Maryland to 18 and give
greater power to the State Board of Education to regulate
homeschoolers. The full Maryland Senate could vote on the bill at any
time!

Senate Bill 362 would raise the compulsory attendance age from 16 to
17 statewide in 2014, and to age 18 in 2016. It would take away your
freedom to decide whether school or some other path is best for your
16- and 17-year-old to follow.

But that's not all. Right now, Maryland has a short, simple,
protective homeschool statute (requiring simply "regular, thorough
instruction") and a long, complicated set of rather restrictive
homeschool regulations. The statute's simplicity protects us.

And because a statute is always more powerful than a regulation
implementing it, any regulation the State Board might adopt in the
future (under current law) that conflicted with the statute--like
mandating that parents do 100% of the instruction, or mandating home
visits--would be struck down as conflicting with the more
authoritative homeschool statute.

But SB 362 inserts a reference to the regulations right into the
homeschool statute itself-- arguably giving the regulations the same
power as statutes. By giving the regulations the same power as a
statute, the homeschool statute itself could never again be used to
protect us or to act as a "brake" to restrain an ambitious State
Board.

The State Board could adopt any regulation it wanted without ever
worrying that it might be struck down as conflicting with the
protective homeschool statute. It would have virtually unlimited
power to regulate homeschooling.

REQUESTED ACTION

1. Please call your Maryland state senator immediately and ask him or
her to oppose the bill. Visit our Legislative Toolbox and type in
your ZIP Code to find out who your senator is, and their contact
information: http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=14159

Your message can be as simple as:

"Please vote no on SB 362. It 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."

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
their senator, as well.

BACKGROUND

Several years ago HSLDA represented a homeschool mom who could not, in
good conscience, comply with the homeschool regulations. When she was
prosecuted for truancy, we obtained an innocent verdict for her
because we proved she was in compliance with the simple, protective
homeschool statute. No one else may ever have this option for proving
their innocence if SB 362 becomes law.

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.

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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-> How many news articles did you read this morning over your
oatmeal?

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right time can make a big difference in the outcome of important
legislative efforts. Yet it's tough to keep up with all the
issues that affect you. HSLDA does this for you in the areas that
affect your homeschool. Our emails and website enable you to
take quick, decisive action. Please consider becoming a part of
this team.

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1923

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