June 25, 2007

Senate Bill 2035: Raises the Compulsory Attendance Age

Senator Royce West

Requires a student to complete the school year in which the child turns 18, as opposed to exempting the student from compulsory attendance upon the child’s 18th birthday.

4/20/2007(Senate) Received by the Secretary of the Senate
4/24/2007(Senate) Permission to introduce
4/24/2007(Senate) Read first time
4/24/2007(Senate) Referred to Education
4/26/2007(Senate) Withdrawn from schedule
5/1/2007(Senate) Scheduled for public hearing
5/1/2007(Senate) Considered in public hearing
5/1/2007(Senate) Testimony taken in committee
5/1/2007(Senate) Left pending in committee
5/28/2007Legislature closed, bill died

HSLDA's Position:
HSLDA opposes this bill.

Action Requested:
No action requested 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, 94.5%, and North Dakota, 94.7%) compel attendance only to age 16, but the state with the lowest completion rate (Oregon, 75.4%) compels attendance to age 18. (These figures are three-year averages, 1996 through 1998.)

Most states (28) only require attendance to age 16. Older children who do not want to learn cause classroom discipline problems, disruptions, and violence, making learning harder for those who truly want to learn.

When California raised the upper age limit of compulsory attendance, the disruption caused by unwilling students was so significant that new schools had to be set up just to handle these students and their behavior problems, all at the expense of the taxpayer.

Unwilling students who are forced back into the classroom are unlikely to benefit from one year of additional schooling.

It would require homeschool families to submit to one more year of governmental red tape, and be exposed to one more year of the threat of legal action or subpoena in the event of an accusation of a violation.

It would take away the parental freedom to decide if a 17-year-old is ready for college or the workforce. Some 17-year-olds who are not academically inclined benefit more from valuable work experience than being forced to sit in a classroom.

 Other Resources

Bill Text

Bill History