Former teacher and brand new Representative Scherer found a powerful foe against her bill lowering compulsory attendance age to 6 years of age. It was called “grassroots” and the only objective sought in opposing this bill was family well-being and choice. No money involved, unless Representative Scherer’s HB 2762 passed in its original form and added one more year of forced schooling. Instead, as reported on the Illinois Homeschool Central site, Amendment 2 eliminated the change in compulsory attendance age and reduced the bill to an “exception that if the child turns 7 during the regular school term, that child shall be made to attend that entire school term.” This change only affects public school children reaching the age of 7 during a “regular school term”.
With this change, Elementary and Secondary Education Committee Chair Chapa-LaVia said this bill will not affect parochial/non-public schools at all. When asked specifically by Education Committee Minority Leader Pihos if this affects homeschoolers, the chair said her staff assured her it would not. Please remember Representative Chapa-LaVia and 24 other sponsors supported the original bill changing compulsory attendance age to 6. They will be back. I’m still troubled the former Macon County Regional Office Superintendent “worked a lot with local homeschool associations” on a regular basis.
SB 1307 (changing the compulsory attendance age to 5) has 4 sponsors, but will hopefully not move.
Homeschoolers seem to have sent a strong message, as Chapa-LaVia’s assurances to private schools leaked over to her closing statement on the House floor regarding an unrelated education bill calling for a moratorium on what Representative Chapa-LaVia calls “Virtual Reality Charter Schools”. She said:
“We’re not trying to kill virtual reality charter schools or charter schools. Every piece of the puzzle whether it’s homeschool, whether it’s Christian homeschool, whether it’s parochial school, they all belong in the piece of the puzzle of education in Illinois”
Homeschoolers do send a strong message to our legislators to leave us alone. We’ll continue to trust, but verify in this dysfunctional state of Illinois.