House Bill 4593: Relating to High School Graduation Improvement

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Last Updated: April 1, 2010
House Bill 4593: Relating to High School Graduation Improvement
Sponsors:
Delegates Stowers, Perry, M. Poling, Paston, D. Walker, and Duke
Summary:

This bill increases the compulsory attendance age. It also creates other programs intended to address West Virginia's high school dropout rates. HSLDA opposes this bill because it increases the compulsory school attendance age from 16 to 17.

HSLDA's Position:

Oppose. This bill would impose increased government control over children and further restrict parents’ rights to direct the upbringing and education of their children. These are rights that have been recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court as fundamental constitutional rights. While this bill would create many programs that may help the graduation rate, it would subject students (including homeschool students) to compulsory attendance laws for an additional year. Many homeschool families graduate their children from homeschool programs to enroll them in college or apprenticeship programs. Today, parents have the authority to determine whether their children continue in formal secondary education after the age of 16; this right must be preserved.

Action Requested:
None at this time
Status:

2/19/2010 (House) Originated by House Education Committee
2/19/2010 (House) Education Committee Recommendation: Do pass
2/22/2010 (House) From House Calendar, 1st reading, placed on Special Calendar
2/23/2010 (House) 2nd reading
2/24/2010 (House) On 3rd reading, Special Calendar
2/24/2010 (House) Passed 3rd reading; passed House
2/25/2010 (Senate) Introduced and referred to the Education Committee
3/5/2010 (Senate) Committee Report: Do pass with amendments, but first to Finance
3/5/2010 (Senate) To Finance
3/11/2010 (Senate) Reported do pass, with amendment and title amendment
3/11/2010 (Senate) Immediate consideration
3/11/2010 (Senate) 1st reading
3/12/2010 (Senate) 2nd reading
3/12/2010 (Senate) Committee amendment adopted
3/12/2010 (Senate) 3rd reading
3/12/2010 (Senate) Suspension of Constitutional Rule (Roll No. 35)
3/12/2010 (Senate) 3rd reading
3/12/2010 (Senate) Passed Senate
3/12/2010 (Senate) Title amendment adopted
3/12/2010 (Senate) Senate requests House to concur
3/13/2010 (House) House refused to concur; requested Senate to recede
3/13/2010 (Senate) Senate refused to recede; requested conference
3/13/2010 (Senate) Senate appointed conference committee: Prezioso, Edgell, White, Boley, and Guills
3/13/2010 (House) House agreed to conference
3/13/2010 (House) House appointed conferees: Poling, M., Paxton, Stowers, Perry, and Duke
3/13/2010 To Conference
3/13/2010 (House) House adopted conference report and passed bill
3/13/2010 (Senate) Senate adopted conference report and passed bill
3/13/2010 Effective July 1, 2010
3/13/2010 Completed Legislation awaiting Governor's signature
3/26/2010 Approved by Governor
3/26/2010 Adopted

Background:

Those in favor of raising the compulsory school attendance age feel that it will help graduation rates and reduce the number of dropouts. However, statistics and studies show that raising the compulsory school attendance age does not accomplish this result. In fact, several states with the lowest compulsory school attendance ages have the highest graduation rates. This bill unnecessarily imposes government regulation on the authority of parents to make decisions about what is in the best interest of their children. To learn more, you can read the following article “Raise the Bar, Not the Age.”

Additional reasons to oppose increasing the compulsory school attendance age:

Children who are compelled to stay in school against their will cause classroom disruptions and even violence, making learning harder for their classmates who truly want to learn.

This bill restricts parents' ability to decide if their 16-year-old is ready for college or the workforce. Many 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.

For more information, please see our Issues Library page on compulsory attendance age legislation.

 Other Resources

Bill Text

Bill History

Raise the Bar, Not the Age (Why raising the compulsory school age won't reduce dropouts)