May 8, 2006

Senate Bill 1238: Raises the Compulsory Attendance Age

Senator Wilson

Authorizes district school board policy to raise compulsory school attendance age from 16 to 18.

1/11/06Referred to Education; Education Appropriations
3/9/06Passed Senate Education Committee and now in Education Appropriations
5/5/06Died in committee

HSLDA's Position:
HSLDA is opposed to this bill.

Action Requested:
Please call as many members of the Senate Education Appropriations Committee as you can and give them this message:

    "Please vote against funding Senate Bill 772 and Senate Bill 1238 which expand the compulsory attendance age. These bills are unnecessary. They restrict parental choice and waste taxpayer money."

Do not identify yourself as a homeschooler.

  • Senate Bill 772 is sponsored by Senator Constantine

  • Senate Bill 1238 is sponsored by Senator Wilson

You can ask for Senators Constantine and Wilson by calling Legislative Services at 1-850-488-4371.

You can contact the Senate Education Appropriations Committee at (850) 487-5140. Their names are listed below:

Sen. J.D. Alexander, chair
Sen. James E. "Jim" King Jr., vice chair
Sen. Larcenia Bullard
Sen. Lee Constantine
Sen. Ron Klein
Sen. Evelyn Lynn
Sen. Lesley "Les" Miller Jr.
Sen. Stephen R. Wise


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

Twenty-nine states 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.

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.

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 schools. 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.

 Other Resources

Jan.-24-2006—Florida—Calls Needed to Prevent Expansion of State Control

Mar.-9-2006—Florida—Calls Needed to Stop Increased Government Control

Bill Text

Bill History