July 15, 2003

House Bill 2584: Raising Compulsory School Age

Rep. Arthur Turner

Illinois House Bill 2584 raises the age of compulsory school attendance from 16 years of age to 18. This would apply to all children in the state, including homeschoolers.

Although H.B. 2584 missed a filing deadline and is automatically dead in its present form, some representatives, before your calls, indicated that the bill's measures would be attached to another bill this year. Your efforts communicated to them that the citizens of Illinois do not want to expand the compulsory attendance age and no doubt will discourage the legislature from attaching the text of H.B. 2584 to another bill.

2/20/2003 House First Reading
2/20/2003 House Referred to Rules Committee
2/26/2003 House Assigned to Elementary & Secondary Education Committee
3/6/2003 House Do Pass / Standard Debate Elementary & Secondary Education Committee;
3/6/2003 House Placed on Calendar 2nd Reading - Standard Debate
3/19/2003 House House Amendment No. 1 Filed with Clerk by Rep. Arthur L. Turner
3/19/2003 House House Amendment No. 1 Referred to Rules Committee
4/4/2003 House Rule 19(a) / Re-referred to Rules Committee
4/28/2003 Filing deadline missed; bill now dead

HSLDA's Position:
We oppose all attempts to expand the compulsory attendance age since it increases the years the state will have jurisdiction over our children.

H.B. 2584 would require homeschool families to submit to two more years of governmental oversight and threat of legal action in the event of an alleged violation. Here are some more reasons HSLDA opposes measures to raise the compulsory attendance age:

Raising the compulsory attendance age results in a negative financial impact on taxpayers by requiring the state to hire more teachers and build larger education facilities to accommodate the increased number of students.

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.)

Some people argue that raising the compulsory attendance age is good because having children in school for one or two more years will prevent juvenile crime. However, a comparison of the fifty states shows that the graduation age has little to no impact on a state's juvenile crime rate.

29 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.

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.

House Bill 2584 would restrict parents' freedom to decide if their 16 or 17 year old is ready for 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

4/28/2003 - Illinois--Bill to Raise Compulsory School Age Dead for Now

4/24/2003 - Illinois--Bill Would Raise Compulsory School Age

2/28/2003 - Illinois--Bill Would Raise Compulsory School Age