July 11, 2007

Attempts to Manipulate Driver License Laws Fail

The Missouri legislature recently closed, and we can give thanks that homeschool freedom was protected.

Several bills were filed that would have raised the upper end of compulsory school attendance from 16 to 17 years of age and lowered the bottom end from 7 to 6. Expanding the age of compulsory attendance is one of the darlings of teachers unions. More children in public schools leads to more teachers being hired, which leads to more union members and more influence. Thankfully, none of these bills even got to the floor of their respective house of origin for a vote. The right of parents to choose was protected.

Following a national trend, two bills were filed that would have used teen driver’s licenses as leverage to pursue social agendas and erode parental freedom.

House Bill 708 would have required all teens, including homeschoolers, to submit an annual filing and prove they were keeping a grade point average of 1.75 and 90% attendance. In effect, this would have forced homeschool families to register, and would have opened the door for even greater interference in homeschool programs. If this bill had passed, it is not difficult to envision the government trying to force homeschool families to grade their children the government way or count attendance the government way.

H.B. 694 would have given public schools virtually unlimited power to set standards for their students to meet to get a driver’s license. If a school determined that one of its students fell below the standard, the student would not be allowed a license—even if he subsequently began a homeschool program and was making excellent progress. To get a license, the homeschooled teen would have been required to prove he was meeting the public school standards.

H.B. 708 and H.B. 694 received a hearing before the House Transportation Committee at the same time. Fully alerted to the dangers of these bills, homeschool families strongly opposed them. In fact, no one but sponsors testified in favor of the bills! Families for Home Education (FHE) joined HSLDA in opposing these bills.

The hearing was the end of the road for both bills. They never made it to the House floor for a vote.

Thank you for standing with HSLDA during the past legislative session and fighting these efforts to undermine the rights of parents.