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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: March 26, 2018 11:35 AM
From: Representative Dan L. Miller
To: All House members
Subject: Updating compulsory school age to 6 through 18
Currently, Pennsylvania is one of only two states that wait until a child is 8 to require school attendance. We also allow a 17 year old to drop out of school regardless of his or her parent’s or guardian’s wishes. I believe we are failing our children on both accounts.

This legislation would have Pennsylvania join 26 other states in recognizing the importance of early learning by requiring school attendance by age 6 (9 states and the District of Columbia require school attendance by age 5). The bill allows 17 year old students to continue to quit school - but only with parental consent. Here we would join 25 other states plus D.C. in requiring compulsory education until the age of 18.

The earlier that children begin attending school, the more opportunity they have to begin learning basic skills and academic fundamentals, and to interact in a positive social setting with other children on a daily basis. This structured environment can help to support and further set children on a path toward future academic, social and career success by providing them with an earlier start.

Additionally, the statistics are overwhelming that those who do not graduate high school face more difficult challenges and greater economic insecurity. The reality is that in this economy, failure to graduate high school severely hinders future opportunities for our kids. Dropout rates in several areas of our Commonwealth have reached a near epidemic, and I believe that we must assist school districts in developing dropout prevention policies that will increase graduation rates. Removing the option for a seventeen-year-old to sign himself or herself out of school without a parent’s consent is a step in that direction.

Please join me in supporting this legislation, and working to increase the chance of success for our students.

View Attachment

Introduced as HB2229