July 8, 2008

House Bill 1091: Limits Circumstances Under Which Students May Withdraw from School

Rep. Karen C. Peterson

Prior to being amended, House Bill 1091 would have prohibited a student who is 17 or 18 from being withdrawn from public or private school unless they met one of five specific reasons and had the written consent of the chief administrator of the school. Both the student and the parent would then be required to sit through an exit interview with local school officials.

This bill was not a homeschool-related bill, but it could have severely limited when a parent could decide that their child should be withdrawn from school to work or move on to other educational options. House Bill 1091 would not have prohibited a parent from removing their child from the public school to educate them in a private school or home study program.

In May of this session, House Bill 1091 appeared on the Senate Education Committee agenda. At that time your calls urged the committee to regard this bill as restrictive of a parent’s right to direct their child's education at home. Your voices were heard and much needed amendments were added to protect the rights of parents in directing their child’s education.

3/21/2008Introduced and sent to Education Committee
4/23/2008Passed Education Committee
4/30/2008Passed Full House
5/1/2008Sent to Senate Education Committee
5/28/2008Amendments read and adopted
6/21/2008Passed Full Senate
7/8/2008Signed by Governor

HSLDA's Position:
Neutral as amended.

Action Requested:
No Further action requested at this time

Currently, parents can withdraw their 17- or 18-year-old children from school by providing written consent. Often in situations where this occurs, the parents feel their students would get a better education in the workplace, an apprentice-type situation, or an alternative education opportunity.

Under House Bill 1091, in order to withdraw 17- or 18-year-old students from school, parents would have to: 1) provide written consent to the withdrawal, 2) participate in a exit interview with their children and sign a written acknowledgement that withdrawal from school would likely reduce the students' future earning potential, 3) obtain the written consent for students' withdraw from the chief administrator of the school. The withdraw also must be due to one or more of the following: (a) student is pregnant or actively parenting, (b) student is incarcerated or adjudicated, (c) student is institutionalized or in a residential facility, (d) student has chronic physical or mental illness, or (e) student has family or economic hardships. No other reason for withdrawal would be permitted.

The purpose of House Bill 1091 is to address the dropout rate. However, just as raising the compulsory attendance age will not reduce the dropout rate, neither with will an attempt to further restrict who may be withdrawn from school. 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.

House Bill 1091 would restrict parents’ freedom to decide if their 17- or 18-year-olds are ready for college or the workforce. (Some 17-year-olds who are not academically inclined benefit more from valuable work experience than from being forced to sit in a classroom.)

This bill has already passed the House, so we need your action now to stop it. Please call now to urge the Senate Education Committee to defeat House Bill 1091.

 Other Resources

E-lert—May 21, 2008—Louisiana: Calls Needed—Bill Limits Parental Rights!

Bill Text    (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Bill History