March 1, 2004

House Bill 750: Raises Compulsory Attendance Age from 16 to 17

Representative Donna Boe.

H.B. 750 will raise the compulsory school attendance age from sixteen to seventeen. This measure will apply to homeschoolers.

01/24/2004Assigned to Education Committee
03/01/2004Died in Committee

Action Requested:
No action at this time.

HSLDA's Position:
HSLDA opposes this bill.

The Idaho Coalition of Home Educators contacted the bill's sponsors informing them of concerns about the bill. ICHE appeared at the committee meeting this past Monday and testified against the bill demonstrating statistically that the states that require compulsory school attendance through ages 17 or 18 actually have a higher dropout rate than do states such a Idaho that only require attendance through age 16. At the end of the debate, the House Education Committee voted nearly unanimously against the bill. We are grateful that ICHE was able to work with their contacts to kill the bill.

  • Raising the compulsory attendance age from sixteen to seventeen would subject Idaho home educators to the requirements of the compulsory attendance law for another year (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

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    Bill Text