New Hampshire Telegraph | Nashua, New Hampshire | Saturday, July 15, 1871
[ Editor's note: July 13th was the last day of the 1871 legislative session which began on June 7th; the session was a few weeks longer than previous sessions. On the front page of the Nashua Telegraph (daily) and the New Hampshire Telegraph (Saturday weekly) there were detailed accounts of the daily legislative actions in Concord, including when the various bills were read for the first, second and third time and passed. At the end of the session there was a complete list of all bills passed during the session.On Thursday, July 13th, 3rd Reading & Passed:Mr. Hall of #5 from Com. of Ed., An Act to Compel Children to Attend School
There were no articles debating this Act to Compel Children to Attend School in 1871. There were articles discussing the railroads and various taxes, but there was absolutely no discussion on the Act to Compel Children to Attend School. There was no opposition because children "instructed in a private school or at home" were completely exempted from attendance.
This Act to Compel Children to Attend School required attendance for 12 weeks (60 days) per year from ages 8 to 14 (7 years), which is a very small fraction of the current attendance requirement for 36 weeks (180 days) per year from ages 6 to 18 (12 years). It required the equivalent of 2.3 years (19.4%) of schooling as we know it today! Moreover, there were no state or federally mandated curriculums. Every parent who objected to the locally controlled public school could simply instruct their child at home.]