May 17, 2007

House Bill 277: Raises the Compulsory Attendance Age from 16 to 18

Representative Thompson

This bill would mandate that the state compulsory attendance age is raised from 16 to 18. In addition, it required that in order for a driver’s license to be renewed, the applicant show proof of being in school.

1/16/2007(House) Filed
3/6/2007(House) Introduced, referred to Schools and Learning Council; Policy and Budget Council
3/23/2007(House) Hearing with the House Committee on 21st Century Competitiveness, deferred
5/4/2007(House) Died in committee

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

Action Requested:
None requested at this time.


  • Raising the compulsory attendance age will not reduce the dropout rate. In fact, the two states with the highest 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.

For more information on compulsory attendance, please see our memorandum on compulsory attendance age legislation.

 Other Resources

March-5-2007—Florida—Legislature Poses Danger for Homeschoolers

March-7-2007—Florida—Calls Needed to Stop Expansion of State Control over Homeschoolers

March-26-2007—Florida—Calls Needed Now to Stop Expansion of State Control Over Homeschooling

March-30-2007—Florida—Your Calls Helped Forestall Intrusive Legislation

Bill Text

Bill History