Monday, May 16, 2005


HB 1463 got my attention a couple of months ago browsing through the education bills. The bill looks like it's stuck in the Rules Committee and I'm liking that. I don't know anything more than that and what my thoughts were about it below. I like the idea of a graveyard for bills. May they rest and rest and rest.....

Representatives Flider, Chapa-LaVia, Munson, Moffitt and Dugan co-sponsored HB 1463. Here is the introduced synopsis: Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code and the School Code. Provides, beginning August 1, 2005, with certain exceptions, for the cancellation of or refusal to issue a driver's license for failure of an unmarried person under 18 years of age to maintain school attendance. Effective immediately.

Here were some reasons to oppose this bill:

Some children are forced out or "pushed-out" of the school system by public school administrators worried about low test scores decreasing funding under NCLB mandates. I’ve seen this occur in more than one Illinois school district. They will suffer even more by denial of a driver's license.
• There is already language in place in the law regarding the driver education course that requires a passing grade in at least 8 courses during the previous 2 semesters prior to enrolling in a driver education course, or the student shall not be permitted to enroll in the course.
• It would cause harm to teenage mothers that drop out and will then have no transportation for day care, doctor visits or even a return to school.
• This is a punitive penalty towards unmarried young parents.
• Individual families might have temporary hardship reasons for young people who need a job now and a high school diploma later. The State shouldn’t interfere or cause more difficulties.
• This will only cause more reliance on our welfare systems as well as hardships from education system failures...
• The increased paperwork and cost for the already overwhelmed school district and the Secretary of State’s office in processing a monthly report is unnecessary.
• Proof should not be necessary by private school students that they are in school. Students who are not dropouts do not have to prove that they are in compliance with the school code per the 1950 People v. Marjorie Levisen Illinois Supreme Court ruling.
• The compulsory attendance age is effectively changed to 18 with this bill in the requirements for proof that a student is getting or has a GED or is enrolled in a school, college or university. If you do not fulfill any of the above requirements, then you will be denied a driver’s license.

The “push-out” problem is so significant that the children will be punished even more besides being rejected by the school system that is there to serve them. As the sponsors are concerned about children dropping out of school, they should address their concern to the individual school districts. It is mandated that children should be provided a free and appropriate education within the compulsory attendance age of 7-17 years of age. The schools need to find solutions for dropouts and/or “push-outs” regarding unsuccessful educational goals. This bill does not address that core problem and is not part of a solution.

Legislators should not be creating a law that has already assured successful attendance for enrollment in a driver’s education course. The judicial branch should be responsible for punishment when necessary. This bill also intrudes into the privacy of non-truant children and families who should not be punished for any reason, let alone with with the denial of a driver’s license.

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