December 15, 2010

House Bill 4132: Raising the Age of Compulsory Attendance to 18 Years

Representative LaMar Lemmons, Jr.

House Bill 4132 raises the upper age limit of compulsory school attendance to 18 for children who turn 14 on or after December 1, 2007, and for children who entered 9th grade in 2008 or later.

2/4/2009(House) Introduced and referred to Committee on Education
2/5/2009(House) Printed bill filed
2/12/2009(House) Education Committee Meeting, 10:30 a.m.
2/17/2009(House) Reported with recommendation without amendments
2/17/2009(House) Referred to second reading
3/4/2009(House) Read a second time
3/4/2009(House) Substitute H-2 adopted
3/4/2009(House) Placed on third reading
3/4/2009(House) Placed on immediate passage
3/4/2009(House) Read a third time
3/4/2009(House) Passed; given immediate effect, Roll call No. 16: Yeas 71, Nays 37
3/4/2009(House) Title amended
3/4/2009(Senate) Transmitted
3/5/2009(Senate) Referred to Committee on Education
12/15/2010(House) Bill died when legislature adjourned"

HSLDA’s Position:
HSLDA opposes 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 school 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 issues library entry, Compulsory Attendance Age Legislation.

 Other Resources

E-lert—February 11, 2009—Michigan: Calls Still Needed to Stop Expansion of State Control Over Homeschoolers

E-lert—February 17, 2009—Michigan: Calls Still Needed to Stop Expansion of State Control Over Homeschoolers

Bill Text

Bill History