I don’t get it…. compulsory attendance changes

I caught this Colorado Reporter-Herald article about a new law SB07-016 that went into effect this month lowering compulsory attendance age. 
State lowers compulsory school age to 6 

Advocates of the change said starting school early is best for children academically and socially.

How's that working in Colorado when it was 7 years of age?  Maybe it’s better in Colorado than in other states.  California 'discovered' a 25% dropout rate, for instance. It would appear that they never would have guessed otherwise.  My point is that the school advocates said starting [institutional] school early [as mandated] is best [see dropout rates for those within the compulsory attendance age] academically [better than reading a book on mom or dad's lap?] and socially [School ready socialization is different than real life socializing.] 

Are families and the children protected more with this law, or less?

I thought HSLDA followed the same line of thinking regarding compulsory attendance age lowering.  They (and the Illinois Christian Home Education group, other family advocate groups and a few grassroots homeschool advocates) were the only ones fighting against Kwame Raoul’s (Barack Obama’s replacement) lowering compulsory attendance age bill a few years back. 

But this is what HSLDA states on their website regarding the CO law:

Colorado: Homeschoolers Exempted From Compulsory Attendance Age Expansion

The Colorado Legislature is at it again! Last year there was a strong push to extend the age of compulsory attendance from age 16 to age 17 and lower it from 7 to 6. After you received our e-lert, you voiced your opposition to the bill, the attempt to lower the compulsory attendance age from 7 to 6 was dropped, and the sponsor put in an exemption for homeschoolers.

This year, the Senate Bill 16 was introduced to attempt to expand the lower the compulsory attendance again. Treon Goossen, with Concerned Parents of Colorado, has been a strong, articulate voice for homeschoolers at the capitol. She has been present to testify at the committee hearings, and has made sure that the homeschool exception to this bill remains intact. Due to your lobbying efforts last year, the legislators have been very willing to keep the homeschool exemption in. During one of the meetings, a legislator said that they would do what they had to keep the homeschoolers happy, or they would face their wrath!

So far S.B. 16 has passed both the Senate and the House with the homeschool exemption in place. It will now go to Governor Ritter for his approval.

Thank you for being ready to defend your homeschool freedoms-the homeschool lobby has been a powerful force, and the legislators continue to listen.

Illinois had the same sort of raising the compulsory attendance age to 17 from 16 a couple of years ago.  The bill passed successfully. There was not a concerted effort from the homeschool community to defeat it.  (Several homeschool advocates weren't aware that it existed or passed.) 

Illinois also had the same issue in a bill proposed by IL Senator Kwame Raoul. (Again, he was 'picked' to replace the current Democratic presidential candidate).  Senator Raoul followed his predecessor with an aggressive bang.  Fortunately, I think that Senator Obama did little to bother IL families regarding education, despite his current grandiose plans for '0 to the point in lifetimes when many get their GED from adult education centers' educational oversight. Raoul however, introduced a bill to lower compulsory attendance age to 5 from 7 years of age.  He wanted to lower it to 3 years of age, but was apparently counseled that he needed to work that in steps.  More about that here:

Senator Raoul again; Lowering Compulsory Attendance again

Back to Colorado and from Christian Home Educators of Colorado:

SB07-016: This bill deals with lowering the compulsory attendance age from 7 to 6. Sen. Tapia said he was careful about not including homeschoolers in the lowering of compulsory attendance age. He brought up how a member in committee was grateful he did so they would not have to deal with thousands of calls! (This was Sen. Windels, the Chairman of Senate Education.) He went on to say that the real reason he included the exemption for homeschoolers is that it is an excellent opportunity for parents who take responsibility for their child's education, and that his confidence level is strong for their success. There is also an exemption being talked about for private schools as well. This bill passed the Senate on February 5, and is now awaiting a House Education Committee hearing.

Here's the part I don't get from the Colorado homeschool community.  (I've been asking the same sort of questions of many of the IL homeschool leaders with no logical answers in response.) Throughout these articles and announcements from homeschool groups, there is the constant mantra that it doesn't affect homeschoolers.  It's said that CO homeschoolers have an "exemption" in this new law, for instance.  But here's what I see:

From the Rocky Mountain Education Connection Colorado's Homeschool Law "In a Nutshell" :

NEW – Effective July 2008 – this does not affect the 2007 summer Colorado's Home School Statute applies to all children between the ages of 6-16. If your child will turn 6 years old by August 1, you must file A Notice of Intent to Homeschool. HOWEVER, you do not need to actually begin homeschooling until age 7. (See CRS 22-33-104.5) .pdf

The Colorado Reporter-Herald article seems to verify that, even as I like to look to homeschoolers for more knowledgeable law interpretations.  [Bold emphasis is mine]:

Also, if parents plan to home-school a child, they are not required to establish the home-school program until the child is 7 years old, but they must notify their local school district of their intent to do so when the child turns 6.

It appears to affect CO homeschoolers in being required to now file a notification intent a year earlier (6) than before this law. 

The HSLDA release regarding Colorado law makes little sense when their justifiable argument regarding the lowering of Illinois compulsory attendance age was this concerning Raoul's bill SB 541 last year.  Good reasoning.  Where did it go in Colorado?  What am I missing here?:


  • 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.
  • Lowering the compulsory attendance age erodes the authority of parents who are in the best position to determine when their child’s formal education should begin.
  • 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 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.

More at HEM News & Commentary:  Wishing for 3 year olds

This extension of education oversight for all children from 0 to whenever isn't going away any time soon.  Is it a good thing to mandate school attendance at a younger and younger age?  Does it really not affect homeschoolers if they have to "opt out"?  I will continue to ask: What am I missing here regarding homeschool freedoms being affected by compulsory attendance age expansions?  I'm just sayin….


I don’t get it…. compulsory attendance changes — 1 Comment

  1. New Mexico has also raised the compulsory attendance age from 16 to 17, though I do not think they have lowered the age at the younger end of the school years.

    Of course, New Mexico is somewhere like 49th in graduation rate already–so I don’t know what they think this will do. My guess is that the state will not have the money to enforce this. Already the “truancy” rate is so high that the schools and courts cannot possibly keep up with it.

    IMHO: They ought to spend the money they have on teaching the kids not on hunting down “truants.”

    Just saying…:)