Friday, February 23, 2007

SB 541 Lowers Comupulsory Attendance Age

The following piece was sent to us by the Home School Legal Defense Association. Please contact your legislators and tell them to vote no on SB 541. This is not only important for homeschoolers but all parents who choose to raise their children as opposed to having the government raise their children. For more information on compulsory attendance age legislation visit the Home School Legal Defense Association website.

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Senator Kwame Raoul is back. He is attempting, once again, to pass a bill to lower the compulsory attendance age from seven to five years old and to require all school districts to establish kindergartens for children who are five years old. This bill, SB 541, is a step towards Senator Raoul's continuing goal to lower the compulsory attendance age to three. Senator Raoul expressed this aim in the committee hearing last year.

Last year, Senator Raoul introduced SB 409, which was opposed tirelessly by hundreds of homeschoolers. The homeschoolers were so tenacious in their continued calls in opposing the bill, that even though Senator Raoul thought he had the votes, he was never able to pass it out of the House Educational Committee. Even though the bill passed the Senate, it never got to the floor of the House after numerous delays due to the constant barrage of phone calls.

Your phone calls and constant pressure made a difference last year. You won the uphill battle; even though the compulsory attendance age bill was targeted for passage and should have been passed, considering the make up of the legislature.

Once again we are calling on you to oppose the lowering of the compulsory attendance age to five and the establishing of mandatory kindergarten which would result from Senator Raoul's new bill, SB 541.

We are working closely with Ralph Garcia and the Christian Home Educators Coalition to oppose this bill.


Please call as many members of the Senate Education Committee as possible. You can give them this message:

"Please vote against SB 541, which lowers the compulsory attendance age two years and mandates kindergarten. This bill is unnecessary and restricts parental choice, and wastes tax payer's money since there is no study showing any long-term positive benefits from children attending school early."


Chair Kimberly A. Lightford, (217) 782-8505
Vice-Chair: Deanna Demuzio, (217) 782-8206
Jacqueline Y. Collins, (217) 782-1607
William Delgado, (217) 782-5652
Susan Garrett, (217) 782-3650
James T. Meeks, (217) 782-8066
A. J. Wilhelmi, (217) 782-8800
Dan Cronin, (217) 782-8107
J. Bradley Burzynski, (217) 782-1977
David Luechtefeld, (217) 782-8137
John J. Millner, (217) 782-8192

According to the 2005 NAEP test scores, children from states that have low compulsory attendance ages (5-6) did not score any higher than children from the other states, and in some subjects their average was actually lower.

Many education experts have concluded that beginning a child's formal education too early may actually result in burnout and poor scholastic performance later.

A report published February 6, 2007 by the Goldwater Institute examines Stanford 9 test scores and finds Arizona kindergarten programs initially improve learning but have no measurable impact on reading, math, or language arts test scores by fifth grade.

The data show that students in schools with all-day kindergarten programs have statistically significant higher 3rd-grade test scores, but there is no impact on 5th-grade scores. This finding is consistent with previous research. Forcing children into school early delivers short-term benefits at best.

Another significant impact of expanding mandatory schooling is the inevitable tax increase 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.

For more information on compulsory attendance, please see our
memorandum at the Home School Legal Defens website.

Thank you for standing with us in this fight for freedom.


Christopher J. Klicka

Quote of the Day

Friedrich Engels, who in an 1847 draft of the Manifesto called "Principles of Communism" wrote as one of its tenets:
"Education of all children, from the moment they can leave their mother's care, in national establishments at national cost."

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