How about irresponsible parents?
Helping one's children prepare for life is a deep human need. Except for a few pockets of animism in Asia and Africa, virtually all parents aspire to prove some sort of formal schooling as a crucial part of helping prepare their children for life. Hence the question, "Is compulsion of attendance by government a good thing or not?" One bit of evidence that it is not necessary is to compare the "Asian Tigers." Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong range from 93-95 percent of school attendance with their compulsory attendance laws. Our own history provides a bit more evidence that compulsion is not necessary. Singapore averages 94 percent attendance without compulsion.
The 1840s' municipal and state takeover of schools told parents they weren't responsible for their children's education. It's the government's job. The 1850s-1890s' compulsory attendance legislation relieved parents of the awesome burden of convincing children to attend school. It's the government's job.
The 1930s' Social Security told children they weren't responsible for their elderly parents. It's the government's job.
The 1970s-200s brought us government breakfast, lunch, health care and after-school care. When governments usurp, many parents abdicate their responsibility. Family life is weakened and children are harmed.
This usurpation/abdication two-step has been ratcheting parental responsibility downward for 160 years and has been accelerating in the last 40 years.
Government attempts to rescue children from poor parenting are the great enabler of irresponsible parenting.
A must read: Arguing with Jim: The false problem of parents who don't care by Lehi Sellers and Compulsory Attendance by Mary K. Novello, Ed.D.