Summary: While lowering compulsory attendance age is still a bad idea, SB321 has been amended to have minimal impact on homeschool freedoms.
Senator Haas’ office has submitted an amendment to SB321 which allows parents to choose Kindergarten or first grade for their entering six-year-old. This leaves the current homeschool testing schedule unchanged.
SB321, as amended, also lowers the compulsory school age from seven to six instead of five (as originally submitted).
While we believe lowering the compulsory attendance age from seven to six is not good public policy, we lost that battle in the last election.
The amended SB321 accomplishes 2 things:
1. It keeps the homeschool testing on the same schedule so that homeschool parents can consider their child in first grade at 7.
2. In a broader sense, it allows ALL parents to hold back their children if they believe it is the best interest of the child.
The only change to the current homeschool law is that we would have to notify the year our child turns six before September 1.
Because of the makeup of the Legislature, we wouldn’t have had a chance to even partially protect homeschool freedoms if you had not let the Senate Education Committee know your concerns with lowering the compulsory attendance age. They listened and offered a compromise. Thank you for taking time to communicate with the committee. Your calls and emails make a huge difference!
Because the amended bill protects the current homeschool law, OCEANetwork will tell the committee we are neutral on SB321, (though we’re not 100% happy with it). Again, we believe that lowering the compulsory attendance age is very bad public policy and counter to the principles of parental rights to control and direct the education of children.
SB 321 is scheduled for a Work Session on Tuesday, March 24, 2015, at 1 p.m. That means they will vote on it then. No public testimony will be taken at that time.
Thank you for standing with OCEANetwork in defense of the freedom to do what is best for our children.
If you know a friend who would be interested in this topic, please forward our alert or send them the link above to view it online. You can help OCEANetwork protect and support home education in Oregon by becoming an OCEANetwork Supporting Family.