March 1, 2004

House Bill 740: Lowers Compulsory Attendance Age, Mandates Kindergarten "comparable instruction."

Representative Donna Boe.

H.B. 740 will lower the compulsory school attendance age from seven to six and will mandate kindergarten programs for all children of the eligible age, including homeschoolers.

01/24/2004Assigned to Education Committee
01/25/2004Passed Committee

Action Requested:
No action at this time.

HSLDA's Position:
HSLDA opposes this bill.

The Idaho Coalition of Home Educators alerted their members and we asked HSLDA members to call their legislators regarding HB 740. The bill was debated for two hours on the floor of the house yesterday and was killed by an overwhelming vote against it. Several representatives made their decision to oppose the bill as a result of the phone calls and emails they received from their constituents.

  • Lowering the compulsory attendance age from seven to six would subject Idaho home educators to the requirements of the homeschool statute one year earlier (You do not need to share this reason with your legislators.)

  • 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.

  • 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.)

  • 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 at

     Other Resources

    2/26/2004 — Calls Needed: Idaho Attempts to Expand Compulsory Attendance Age

    Bill Text