May 2, 2007

Bill Would Lower Compulsory Attendance Age

If enacted, House Bill 1143 would lower Pennsylvania’s compulsory school attendance age from 8 to 6. This means that home educators would be subject to Pennsylvania’s burdensome homeschool law two years earlier than is now required. Homeschooling parents are required to maintain a portfolio of records and materials, to obtain an evaluation of the program from a qualified individual who reviews the portfolios and interviews the student, and to submit all documentation to the local superintendent for further review at the end of each school year.

Many education experts have concluded that beginning a child’s formal education too early may actually result in burnout and poor scholastic performance later.

Lowering the compulsory attendance age erodes the authority of parents who are in the best position to determine when their child’s formal education should begin. The bill would restrict parents’ freedom to decide if their children are ready for school.

Another significant impact of expanding the compulsory attendance age would be an inevitable tax increase to pay for more classroom space and teachers to accommodate the additional students compelled to attend public school.

HSLDA urges all home educators in Pennsylvania to contact their state representative and express their opposition to this bad bill.