May 9, 2003

House Bill 9: Raising the Compulsory School Attendance Age

Representative Joe Negron.

This bill raises the age of compulsory school attendance from 16 years of age to 17 years of age.

12/17/2002 Prefiled.
01/09/2003 To House Education K-20 Subcommittee on Pre-K Through 12.
01/09/2003 To House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education.
3/24/2003 PASSED Subcommittee on Pre K-12

Action Requested:
None. The Florida 2003 Legislative Session is over and this bill is dead.

HSLDA's Position:
HSLDA opposes this bill.


  • Raising the compulsory attendance age will not reduce the dropout rate. In fact, the two states with the highest high school completion rates (Maryland, 94.5% and North Dakota, 94.7%) compel attendance only to age 16, but the state with the lowest completion rate (Oregon, 75.4%) compels attendance to age 18. (Figures are three-year averages, 1996 through 1998.)

  • Most states (29) only require attendance to age 16. Older children unwilling to learn can cause classroom disruptions and even violence, making learning harder for their classmates who truly want to learn.

  • When California raised the age of compulsory attendance, unwilling students were so disruptive that new schools had to be built just to handle them and their behavior problems, all at the expense of the taxpayer.

  • This bill would require homeschool families to submit to another year of governmental red tape and threat of legal action in the event of an alleged violation.

  • It would restrict parents' freedom to decide if their 16-year-old is ready for college or the workforce. Some 16-year-olds who are not academically inclined benefit more from valuable work experience than from being forced to sit in a classroom.

 Other Resources

6/10/2003 - Florida--Legislature Now Closed for 2003

3/26/2003 - Florida--More Calls Needed to Stop Bill to Raise Compulsory Attendance Age

3/24/2003 - Florida--Hearing Scheduled Today on Compulsory Attendance Bill

2/3/2003 - Florida--Calls Needed to Defeat Efforts Expanding Compulsory Attendance

Bill Text