December 20, 2004

House Bill 1221: Expansion of Compulsory School Attendance Age

Representative E. Z. Taylor

How would you like to have filed affidavits, portfolios, and evaluations for six, seven and 17 year olds in your home education program? That would be the new requirement for all homeschoolers if House Bill 1221 had passed the Pennsylvania Legislature!

The adverse effects of this bill was not limited to homeschoolers. This attempt to greatly expand state oversight of education was an attack on parental rights, substituting the state's judgment of when a child is ready to begin formal education for the parent's.

06/18/2003Amended and passed by House Committee on Education, referred to Rules Committee for full House vote.
09/09/2003Re-reported as Committed
09/09/2003Laid on Table
12/01/2004Died when legislature adjourned

Requested Action:

HSLDA's Position:

-Lowering the compulsory attendance age from eight to six and raising it from 17 to 18 would subject Pennsylvania home educators to the requirements of the home school statute two years earlier and one year later than now required. (You do not need to share this reason with your legislators.)

-Many education experts have concluded that beginning a child's formal education too early may actually result in burnout and poor scholastic performance later.

-Lowering the compulsory attendance age erodes the authority of parents who are in the best position to determine when their child's formal education should begin.

-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.

-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.

 Other Resources

Pennsylvania-Bill Would Force Homeschoolers to Report to the State Three Additional Years; Your Calls Needed

Bill Text

Bill History

Bill Text   (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)