Monday, October 20, 2008


Never a dull moment in the People's Republic of New Jersey.

Our faithful legislators neither slumber nor sleep in their quest to regulate our children's education - what they learn, when they learn it, and for how long they have to learn it.

Now they are revisiting compulsory attendance. A.375 isn't actually a new bill - they have been batting it around all year. It seems like just the other day (actually, it was in May or June) I was on the phone with Joe Malone's office (R-Burlington) about this bill concerning compulsory attendance, stating that older students who would rather be anywhere else only cause disruption and mayhem in a classroom. It can be difficult enough for students learn without some unmotivated 18 year olds (who would probably rather be working or in vo-tech) creating a disturbance.

At the time, they were saying that it wouldn't affect homeschooling. But HSLDA has a different take on it, and is asking for calls right away to stop this latest attempt to encroach upon our parental rights and expand government control over our children.

This bill is sset for hearing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee THIS THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23.

From the HSLDA E-lert Service...

New Jersey: Calls Needed Immediately to Stop Expansion
of Government Control Over Homeschoolers

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Your calls are needed immediately to defend parental freedom against a bill set for hearing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee this Thursday, October 23. A. 375 aims to expand state control over young people by expanding the compulsory school attendance age from 16 to 18.

Parents alone know whether it's best for their 16- and 17-year-olds to
stay in a formal education setting or follow some other path. The
government cannot know the needs of individual students. One size does
not fit all when it comes to school attendance.

And the price of this experiment will include higher taxes for New Jersey residents.


Please contact the members of the Assembly Appropriations Committee
before Thursday and express your opposition to these bills. Your
message can be as simple as:

"Please oppose Assembly Bill 375. This costly bill will force
unwilling, unmotivated older teens to remain in classrooms where they
will cause disruption. Protect the right of parents to
decide what educational or vocational path their 16- and 17-year-olds
should follow."

It is not necessary to identify yourself as a homeschooling family, since this bill undermines the rights of all parents. If your name
begins with A-G, call group 1. If it begins with H-M, call group 2.
If O-S, call group 3. T-Z call group 4. Also, call your own
assemblyman, if he is listed below, regardless of what group he is in.
(Use our Legislative Toolbox if you don't know the name of your
assemblyman: ).

Group 1

Nellie Pou, Chair
(973) 247-1555

Valerie Huttle, Vice-Chair
(201) 541-1118 (Englewood)
(201) 928-0100 (Teaneck)

Dawn Marie Addiego
(609) 654-1498

Group 2

Peter Barnes
(732) 548-1406

Herb Conaway
(856) 461-3997

Michael Doherty
(908) 835-0552

Group 3

Louis Greenwald
(856) 435-1247

Reed Gusciora
(609) 292-0500

Richard Merkt
(973) 895-9100

Group 4

Ruben Ramos
(201) 714-4960

Samuel Thompson
(732) 583-5558

John Wisniewski
(732) 316-1885


> >You may be told this legislation does not affect homeschooling. It does. It would subject homeschool families to two additional years of government mandates with respect to family education.

> >You may be told homeschool students who graduate are exempt. This is not correct. The bill only exempts those who have graduated "from high school." Under New Jersey law, homeschooling is considered an education "elsewhere than at school." Since the bill's graduation
language only clearly exempts those who have graduated from "high
school" , i.e., public and private school students, it is possible--or
even likely--that a judge interpreting the language would decide the
exemption does not apply to those who receive instruction elsewhere
than at school.

> >Expanding the compulsory attendance age would inevitably cause tax increases to pay for more classroom space and teachers to accommodate the additional students compelled to attend public school.

> > Raising the compulsory attendance age will not reduce the dropout
rate. Some of states with the lowest completion rates compel
attendance to age 18.

> > Twenty-eight states only require attendance to age 16. Older children unwilling to learn can cause classroom disruptions and even violence, making learning harder for their classmates who truly want
to learn.

> > Mandating attendance until age 18 would restrict parents' freedom to
decide if their 16 or 17-year-old is ready for college or the work
force. Some 16- or 17-year-olds who are not academically
inclined benefit more from valuable work experience than from being
forced to sit in a classroom.

For more information on compulsory attendance, please see our
memorandum at .

Thank you for standing with us for freedom.

Sincerely Yours,

Scott Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney

The HSLDA E-lert Service is a service of:

Home School Legal Defense Association
P.O. Box 3000
Purcellville, Virginia 20134
Phone: (540) 338-5600
Fax: (540) 338-2733

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