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New Hampshire

May 5, 2006
Compulsory Age Expansion Blocked

By a vote of 309 to 44, the House halted the progress of Senate Bill 268, a bill which would have raised the age of compulsory attendance from 16 to 18.

The April 12 vote shunted the bill to "interim study" status. This means the bill is dead for this year, but it is likely to return next year in some form. We will stay vigilant for any last-minute parliamentary shenanigans that might try to attach the contents of S.B. 268 to another bill.

This bill was strongly supported by the governor and appeared to have tremendous momentum. It sailed through the Senate Education Committee on a 6-0 vote, and then passed the full Senate by a wide margin. It was rushed to the House where it passed the House Education Committee.

The situation was so bleak that some homeschoolers appeared ready to concede defeat and were proposing compromise language. Christian Home Educators of New Hampshire (CHENH), HSLDA's partner in fighting this bill, received emails from several homeschoolers telling them their efforts were futile—too little too late.

Undaunted by the pessimists and unwilling to concede the loss of two years of liberty, CHENH identified several key representatives who could turn the tide. Using information Home School Legal Defense Association supplied, homeschoolers met with them and flooded them with phone calls asking them to oppose the bill.

On the morning of the final vote, homeschoolers turned out to picket the state house. When surprised officials saw the crowd and the signs homeschoolers were carrying, they tried to run the picketers off—only to discover they were there lawfully because all required permits had been obtained.

The message got through. An "ought to pass" motion failed 134 to 219, while the "interim study" motion which carried gave the sponsors a nominal sort of victory.

Sometimes it seems that childhood itself is an endangered species in America. Lawmakers have tried to force children as young as 3 to attend school. There was a recent report that one lawmaker (not in New Hampshire) declared that compulsory attendance should start at 2 to get children away from "incompetent" parents as soon as possible.

Defeating efforts to expand compulsory attendance is part of the core mission of preserving the precious parent-child relationship God has created and the rights that flow from the relationship.

Thank you for standing with us to protect those rights.