March 13, 2008

House Bill 4042: Raising the Compulsory Attendance from 16 to 18

Representative LaMar Lemmons

House Bill 4042 would increase the control of the state over your children for another two years. This bill would raise the age of compulsory attendance in Michigan from 16 to 18 years of age.

1/22/2007(House) Referred to the Committee on Education.
1/29/2008(House) Committee Hearing, reported with recommendation.
3/13/2008(House) Scheduled for second reading.

Action Requested:
None requested at this time.

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


  • 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 issue analysis page on compulsory attendance age legislation.

 Other Resources

E-lert—January 25, 2008—Michigan: Calls Needed Now to Oppose Expansion of State Control Over Education

E-lert—February 1, 2008—Michigan: More Calls Needed to Stop the Expansion of State Control Over Homeschooling

Bill Text ( requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Bill History