Monday, March 9, 2015

ATTENTION Mainers....Call to oppose lowering compulsory school attendance age from 7 to 5!

Scott A. Woodruff, Senior Counsel, Home School Legal Defense Association, March 4, 2015:

Your calls and emails are needed immediately to stop LD 311, which would expand state control over children and families in Maine. Current law requires school attendance beginning at age 7. LD 311 would give every local school board the power to lower this to age 5.

If this bill passes, homeschooling parents will have to comply with Maine compulsory school attendance law a full two years earlier than now as soon as their local school board okays it. Two more years of your child's life would be under a government mandate. A parent's freedom to decide concerning their 5- and 6-year-old will be lost.

This bill would also result in an inevitable tax increase because incoming students would increase. More expenses means more taxes, sooner or later.

Action Requested

A hearing is scheduled for Thursday, March 12. They need to hear from you before then!
Call 1-800-423-6900 to leave a message for a senator, or 1-800-423-2900 to leave a message for your representative.

emailsendPlease contact Senator Langley and Representative Kornfield (they serve as committee chairs) if your own senator or representative is not listed below.

Your message can be as simple as: "Please vote 'no' on LD 311. It would give school boards the power to lower the age of compulsory school attendance from 7 to 5. Parents, not the government, know when it's best for their young child to start formal education. Taxes will go up for everyone to pay for it."

Contact Information

Members of the Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs:
Senator Brian Langley, Senate Chair

Senator Peter Edgecomb

Senator Rebecca Millett

Representative Victoria Kornfield, House Chair

Representative Matthea Daughtry

Representative Richard Farnsworth

Representative Brian Hubbell

Representative Joyce Maker

Representative Michael McClellan

Representative Teresa Pierce

Representative Matthew Pouliot

Representative Paul Stearns

Representative Ryan Tipping-Spitz

Requiring children to attend school at age 5 is a very bad idea for the following reasons:

1. LD 311 forces children into school too soon. For an excellent summary of what the empirical research shows about putting 5-year olds into a school-type setting, read here.
There are no long-term replicable studies proving that mandating attendance at age 5 rather than 7 is better for the educational development of the child. Much research indicates that early childhood education does not improve the child's potential for being a better student in the future, because early gains disappear in a few years. This is especially significant for boys, because their cognitive and verbal skill development generally lags behind that of girls at this age.

2. LD 311 decreases beneficial parental contact with their children. Two extra years of development in contact with the parent before the onset of leaving home to attend school can be critical for a child at this early age. Parents, not school boards, should continue to have the authority to decide what is best for their children.

3. LD 311 would have an adverse financial impact on all Maine families. Right now, parents can send their 5- and 6-year-olds to school if they wish. Many don't This bill will force many of those children to attend, inevitably raising expenses and leading to a tax increase now or for the next generation.

4. This would definitely apply to homeschool families.  HSLDA and Homeschoolers of Maine are united in opposing LD 311. Thank you for standing with us for freedom!

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