In the State of the Union address President Obama called on all states to raise their school compulsory attendance age to 18, unnecessarily adding to bureaucratic requirements for homeschoolers.
Homeschool advocates at the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) are dedicated to protecting the educational relationship between parents and their children. Parents — not the federal government and certainly not the president — are the ones who should decide how children are educated and when they’re ready to graduate from high school.
But President Obama presumptively spoke on behalf of parents and the states: “So tonight, I am proposing that every state — every state — requires that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn 18.”
Michael Farris, founder and chairman of HSLDA, expressed the shock felt by homeschoolers: “There appears to be no limit to the president’s desire for power. Car companies, banks, doctors, and now schools and the family. He’s gone way too far this time.”
State-mandated attendance has not been the historical norm. In 1642, the Massachusetts Bay Colony stipulated that parents provide religious instruction for their children. For the next 200 years, most education laws were minimal and focused on family-centered education, giving children the tools to read, write, and do arithmetic, helping them understand what it meant to be virtuous citizens, and allowing them to learn a trade.
Ultimately, a formulaic and compulsory approach to education fails to instill in children a love of learning or a quality education. HSLDA President J. Michael Smith confirmed, “HSLDA has consistently protected homeschool families from the harmful effects of compulsory attendance education in their states, reinforcing the parental right to choose the method and duration of education most fitting to the individual needs and gifts of their children.”
Home School Legal Defense Association is a nonprofit advocacy organization established to defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children and to protect family freedoms. Visit us online at www.HSLDA.org
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