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September 12, 2007

Compulsory Attendance Age Bill Fails

Senate Bill 14, legislation intended to raise the compulsory attendance age in Alaska from 16 to 18, failed to get beyond the Special Committee on Education during the 2007 legislative session. In addition to modifying the age for school attendance, this bill would have also limited the time a child under 18 could have worked and attended school in one day to nine hours.

Alaska law currently exempts children being taught by their parents in a home education program from public school attendance. However, if Senate Bill 14 had passed, parents conducting home instruction would have been required to do so for an additional two years in order to maintain the exemption. This expansion of state control over education would have interfered with the right of parents to make decisions about work and school choices for children who had reached the age of 16.

Alaska continues to enjoy the freedoms of the best homeschool law in the nation. There are no teaching qualifications for parents, no regulation at any level of government, no notice to anyone of the parents’ decision to conduct the home education, no registration with the state, no reporting to anyone of any information about the home education program, no testing of the children, no required subjects, and no evaluation of the program by anyone. Alaska’s law is a model for other states to enact.