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Governor Signs Bill Lowering Compulsory School Attendance to Age 6

by Scott Woodruff • July 23, 2019

On June 28, Governor Janet Mills signed a bill dropping the starting age for compulsory school attendance in Maine from age 7 to age 6, effective September 19, 2019. As before, if a child age 5 is enrolled in public school, the child is subject to compulsory attendance until he is withdrawn.

What a difference a governor can make.

When Governor Paul LePage vetoed a bill that would have lowered the age from 7 to 5, he said: “While this bill may be well-intentioned it is ill-advised. I cannot support a law that would interfere with the rights of parents to decide when their children are ready for school. This bill marks an invasion of government into family matters.”

Continuing with the theme of targeting the rights of parents, Mills recently signed a bill abolishing the right to assert a philosophical or religious exemption to immunizations.

And in the same vein, Mills broke decades of tradition in February and refused to issue a gubernatorial proclamation in support of parents who homeschool their children. Her explanation: homeschooling does not involve a “significant” number of people!

Her explanation defies credulity since public school enrollment shrunk by 8% while homeschool numbers rose by 5% over the past 10 years. Maine House Republicans issued a vigorous riposte.

Until the people of Maine elect officials who care more about freedom, there is little we can take for granted.

Scott Woodruff

Senior Counsel

Scott is a seasoned attorney and homeschool advocate with decades of involvement in homeschool legal issues and cases. Read more.

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