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Illinois - losing graduation exemption ?

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Illinois currently has both a House and Senate bill, both out of committee and up for a vote any time - these bills would lower the compulsory age from 7 to either 5 or 6, and that is what is getting the most attention. However, this really wouldn't affect homeschoolers. Any family can in fact decide to homeschool their kids for those ages, and not put their child into a formal school setting until they choose to.


What does have potential to affect homeschoolers is that when I look at the text of both of these bills, they are *removing* the exemption for students who have already finished their diplomas. They will still be required to attend high school until age 17. So....what will this mean for homeschooled teens who want to start junior college before age 17 ? I am speculating that if this passes, it will become impossible for anyone under age 17 to earn full (not dual enrollment) credit at any state junior college in Illinois.


The bills are SB 1307 and HB 2762.


Someone please tell me I am not imagining this. Both bills removed the graduation exemption, unless there is something I am seriously misunderstanding. And NOBODY here in IL is making any noise about this at all. I think they are distracted by the lowering of the compulsory age, and another bill that increases the vaccination requirements for school attendance. Nobody seems to have noticed that it will become impossible to graduate before age 17 in this state and have it mean anything.


I want to give both of our boys the option to finish American School diplomas early, and start junior college. If this state makes that impossible, we will leave.

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I know quite a few people in our area whose kids have started junior college early. I hate to think that the state is about to legislate that freedom away. I am guessing they are aiming to keep more high-achieving kids locked in the K-12 system, so they can get the federal headcount money, and have the test scores improved.


My personal view is that once a student has met the state graduation requirements, requiring them to stay in the system beyond that time is just keeping them as prisoners for no other reason than their age.

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Except there is a troubling phrase in the bills that says that children are excused if they attend a "private or a parochial school where children are taught the branches of education taught to children of corresponding age and grade in the public schools, and where the instruction of the child in the branches of education is in the English language." Would that allow a 16 year old attend college since they'd be be working on material that wouldn't be taught to publicly-schooled children of their age bracket? Further, what if a HSer completes high school materials early, graduates at 16, and then takes a year off before college? They would have fulfilled their education requirements but they wouldn't be in any school at all for a period of time. Would that be allowed?

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My fear is that if this passes, the junior colleges will no longer be willing to admit any students under 17 unless they are part of a dual-enrollment program through a high school, because by state law, they won't be able to be high school graduates yet.....and so will only give them dual-enrollment credit instead of normal college credit. Some of the dual-enrollment credits don't transfer well. I was hoping to give our kids the option to finish a program like American School, as quickly as they want to, and then go on to junior college as normal-credit students because they would in fact have a high school diploma.


Also, my antenna is seriously up with suspicion about why they are making this change. They are making it very quietly. It is not included in the summary description of either bill - it is referred to only as a "related change". And they did not strike the graduation exemption - instead, they are inserting text that nullifies it after this school year. This graduation exemption has been in the law for a long time. WHY change it ? I have not received a reply from my rep (Tryon). IMO they are up to something - there is some reason they no longer want anyone under 17 to be "graduated" in this state - and they are not being open or clear about their motives at all.


And it appears that nobody in this state is paying any attention to this change. Nobody here (that I can find) is discussing or questioning it.

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