November 10, 2008

House Bill 4662: Lowers Compulsory Attendance Age from 6 to 5

Reps. Virgil Smith and Betty Scott

H.B. 4662 lowers the compulsory school attendance age from 6 to 5 for all children in Michigan and also provides that kindergarten is mandatory.

In February we asked you to call the members of the House Education Committee to oppose H.B. 4662, which would lower the age of compulsory attendance to 5 years. Unfortunately, this bill passed the Committee.

H.B. 4662 has now been referred for a second reading—meaning that the full Michigan State House could vote on H.B. 4662 at any time.

Please call and email your state representative. We are working closely with INCH and legislative staff.

1/9/2007(House) Introduced, referred to the Committee on Education.
2/19/2007(House) Committee Meeting, no vote
3/18/2007(House) Reported with recommendation, with substitute
3/18/2007(House) Referred to Second Reading

HSLDA’s Position:
HSLDA is opposed this bill.

Action Requested:
None at this time.

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 memorandum, “Raising the Compulsory Attendance Age Fails to Achieve Significant Results.”

 Other Resources

E-lert—May 6, 1998—Michigan: Calls Needed to Stop Expansion of State Control Over Children

Bill Text

Bill History