New York
New York

August 5, 2008

Assembly Bill 8123: Raises the Compulsory Attendance Age

Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan

A compulsory attendance bill introduced by Assemblywomen Catherine Nolan, A.B. 8123 would have increased the compulsory age to 18. It was carried over to the 2008 legislative session. If passed, Assembly Bill 8123 would have required children to attend school two years longer than they are currently required to.

A.B. 8123 did not pass out of committee.

5/4/2007(House) Introduced and referred to Committee on Assembly Education

HSLDA's Position:

Action Requested:
No action is needed at this time.

This bill would also require students to attend school until the last day of the school year in which they turn 18. The companion bill is Senate Bill 4686.

Some of the problems with lowering and raising the compulsory attendance age are listed below.

  • 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 upper age limit 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.

 Other Resources

Bill Text

Bill History