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Compulsory Attendance Age Bill Defeated
Freedom-loving parents, led by Montana’s homeschool community, successfully opposed legislation this year that would have expanded the compulsory school attendance age. Sponsored by Representative Sue Malek (HD 98), House Bill 433 would have lowered the required starting age from 7 to 6 and raised the age when a student was permitted to leave school from 16 to 17 or graduation from high school. After a hearing by the House Education Committee on February 20, 2009, at which several homeschoolers testified, the committee voted to table the bill by a vote of 15 to 3. This effectively killed the bill for the 2009 legislative session.
Many Montana homeschoolers responded to the call to contact members of the House Education Committee to express their opposition to this legislation. According to Steve White of the Montana Coalition of Home Educators, who organized opposition to the bill, homeschoolers made the difference, even though the bill had broad support by public school interests.