House File 116: Raises Compulsory School Attendance Age to 18


Last Updated: February 1, 2011
House File 116: Raises Compulsory School Attendance Age to 18
Representatives Jorgensen and Iverson

This bill would raise the compulsory school attendance age in Iowa from 16 to 18.

HSLDA's Position:
Action Requested:

January 26, 2011 Introduced, referred to Education.
January 27, 2011 Subcommittee, Jorgensen, Hanson, and Koester.
February 9, 2011 Subcommittee meeting

This bill did not pass out of its committee of origin before the session ended. It is now dead.


Raising the compulsory school attendance age will not reduce the dropout rate. Some states with the lowest completion rates compel attendance to age 18.

More than 20 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.

Mandating attendance until age 18 would restrict parents' freedom to decide if their 16-year-old is ready for college or the work force. 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 school.

The bill gives public schools and accredited private schools--but not homeschool families--the power to waive compulsory attendance for 16- and 17-year-olds.

For more information on compulsory school attendance, please see our memorandum.

The Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators and HSLDA are united in opposing this bill.

 Other Resources

Bill Text

Bill History