June 22, 2007

Senate Bill 11: Raising the Age of Compulsory Attendance

Senator Brater

Senate Bill 11 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.

Three bills currently in the Michigan Legislature would expand the age of compulsory attendance for children in the state by an additional three years. This means three more years for the public school officials to have authority over homeschoolers!

Senate Bill 162 will lower the compulsory attendance age from 6 to 5. It will also make kindergarten mandatory. Senate Bill 11 and House Bill 4042 would raise the age of compulsory attendance from where it is currently at age 16 to age 18.

Unfortunately, these bills have continued to gain popularity. In fact, some Republicans have come out in support of them. We need your calls and emails to let the Education Committee members know that you oppose this expansion of state control.

We are working closely with INCH, legislative staff, and the Home School Legislative Action Committee and will let you know when action is needed.

1/10/2007(Senate) Referred to the Committee on Education.

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

January-29-2007—Michigan—Call to Stop the Expansion of State Control over Your Children

February-15-2007—Michigan—Calls Needed to Oppose Expansion of State Control Over Education

Bill Text (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Bill History