Originally Sent: 10/3/2013

From the HSLDA e-lert service…
Home School Legal Defense Association

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Action Required to Defeat Increase in Compulsory School Age

Homeschooling in Massachusetts

Act now to defend freedom!

HSLDA staff attorney Mike Donnelly helps protect homeschool freedom in your community.

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

The Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Educational Committee will hold public hearings about increasing the compulsory school attendance age on Tuesday, October 8, 2013. Laws that increase the compulsory school attendance age would require homeschoolers to seek additional approval from school authorities. Raising the compulsory attendance age costs taxpayer money and unreasonably limits the freedom of parents and their children to seek alternative career and educational programs. We are asking you to take action to oppose these bills.

The committee is considering S208, H338, H341, H350, H368, H376, H378, H462 and H524. Each of these bills either increases or moves towards increasing the compulsory school attendance age in Massachusetts. You can find out more on each of these individual bills on the HSLDA website.

Action Requested

Please contact members of the committee, particularly if the member is your senator or representative, and consider attending the hearing to give testimony to oppose increasing the compulsory school attendance age. Because these bills affect all parents and children there is no reason to identify yourself specifically as a homeschooler. Hearings begin at 10:00 a.m. in the Gardner Auditorium at the Massachusetts State House located at 24 Beacon St., Boston, Massachusetts 02108.

When you contact the members of the Education Committee please give them the following messages in your own words:

“I am calling to oppose any bill that increases the compulsory school attendance age, specifically, S208, H338, H341, H350, H368, H376, H378, H462 and H524. Studies have shown that a higher compulsory attendance age is ineffective and does not reduce high school dropout rates. Instead, increasing the compulsory school attendance age costs taxpayer money and unnecessarily restricts the rights of parents and children to seek alternative educational and career opportunities. Please oppose any bill that increases the compulsory school attendance age.”

To find your senator and representative click here.

To make our contacts as efficient as possible please contact your senator and the members based on the following:

If your last name begins with A-G please contact:

Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, Senate Committee Chair
Phone: 617-722-1673
Email: Sonia.Chang-Diaz@masenate.gov"

Senator Patricia D. Jehlen, Senate Committee Vice Chair
Phone: 617-722-1578
Email: Patricia.Jehlen@masenate.gov

Senator Sal N. DiDomenico
Phone: 617-722-1650
Email: Sal.DiDomenico@masenate.gov

Senator Linda Dorcena Forry
Phone: 617-722-1150
Email: Linda.DorcenaForry@masenate.gov

Senator Barry R. Finegold
Phone: 617-722-1612
Email: Barry.Finegold@MASenate.gov

If your last name begins with H-N please contact:

Senator Richard J. Ross
Phone: 617-722-1555
Email: Richard.Ross@masenate.gov

Representative Alice Hanlon Peisch, House Committee Chair
Phone: 617-722-2070
Email: Alice.Peisch@mahouse.gov

Representative Denise C. Garlick, House Committee Vice Chair
Phone: 617-722-2070
Email: Denise.Garlick@mahouse.gov

Representative John H. Rogers
Phone: 617-722-2092
Email: John.Rogers@mahouse.gov

If your last name begins with O-U please contact:

Representative Carlos Henriquez
Phone: 617-722-2396
Email: Carlos.Henriquez@mahouse.gov

Representative Frank A. Moran
Phone: 617-722-2460
Email: Frank.Moran@mahouse.gov

Representative Jonathan D. Zlotnik
Phone: 617-722-2080
Email: Jon.Zlotnik@mahouse.gov

Representative David T. Vieira
Phone: 617-722-2810
Email: David.Vieira@mahouse.gov

Representative Marcos A. Devers
Phone: 617-722-2011
Email: Marcos.Devers@mahouse.gov

If your last name begins with V-Z please contact:

Representative Diana DiZoglio
Phone: 617-722-2060
Email: Diana.DiZoglio@mahouse.gov

Representative Jeffrey N. Roy
Phone: 617-722-2400
Email: Jeffrey.Roy@mahouse.gov

Representative Kimberly N. Ferguson
Phone: 617-722-2263
Email: Kimberly.Ferguson@mahouse.gov


Statistics show that 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.)

Even with possible exemption language, passing these bills would restrict parents’ freedom to decide if their 16-year-old is ready for college or the workforce. (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 is an inevitable tax burden 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.

Many studies have shown the ineffectiveness of increasing the compulsory attendance age. A study by Cornell University on raising the age of compulsory attendance found that there was no correlation between passing a law to raise the age of compulsory attendance and high school completion rates. The study shows that specific programs targeting at-risk youth can help improve completion rates, but a law raising the age of attendance does not. To read the report click here.

A new study from the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution has confirmed the lack of evidence that increasing the compulsory attendance age improves high school graduation. The study concludes, “Increasing the compulsory attendance age and thinking that the problem has been addressed may not quite be shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic, but it comes close.” Read the full report here.

Thank you for all you do in defense of freedom for families in the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts!

Very truly yours,

Michael P. Donnelly, Esq.
HSLDA Staff Attorney

P.S. We greatly value you and your support-it is a privilege to serve you! If you or someone you know is not a member of HSLDA, will you consider taking a moment today to join or recommend us? Your support for our work enables us to defend individual families threatened by government officials and protect homeschooling freedom for all. Join now >>

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