Friday, July 11, 2008

House Bill 1067 Changes Compulsory School Attendance Age from 8 to 6

On Tuesday of this week, Governor Edward Rendell signed into law House Bill 1067, one of the provisions of which authorizes a change in the compulsory school attendance age from 8 to 6 for children in Philadelphia. The new law permits the board of education of school districts of the first class (only Philadelphia) to make the change. We believe it is a foregone conclusion that Philadelphia's board of education will soon vote to lower the compulsory school age.
The silver lining to this bad legislation is that there is an exception for children who are in a home education program or whose parents file a notice with the school district superintendant of their intent to enroll them in a home education program. Parents will not have to begin complying with the homeschool law until a child turns 8 years old. HSLDA will develop a notice of intent form for our Philadelphia members to use for their children who are between 6 and 8.To provide you with a brief legislative history, H.B. 1067 started off as a two-page bill introduced in April of 2007 addressing only the transfer of pupil disciplinary records between public and nonpublic schools. It had nothing to do with homeschooling, so we were not monitoring it. Unbeknownst to us, over the past few days this bill ballooned into an omnibus education bill of 67 pages. On July 4, a national holiday when most state and federal government offices were closed, the Pennsylvania General Assembly was moving full steam ahead on this bill. In the course of this one day, the compulsory attendance age language was inserted and approved by both the Senate and House of Representatives. Homeschoolers were given no opportunity to express their opposition to this expansion of state control over education. Even with the exception for students to be enrolled in a home education program, parents in Philadelphia will be required to file a notice they have never been required to file before.If you have questions concerning this new law, please contact us for more information.To view the text of House Bill 1067, please go to: .