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Colorado

April 8, 2003

House Bill 1177: Mandating Kindergarten Programs For Five Year Olds

Author:
Representative Suzanne Williams.

Summary:
This bill mandates the provision of kindergarten programs by each state school district. The bill reduces the eligibility age for these programs from six to five years of age. The bill does not make attendance by the child mandatory.

Status:
01/15/2003: INTRODUCED.
01/15/2003: To HOUSE Committee on EDUCATION.
02/07/2003: House Bill 1177, which required school districts to provide kindergarten programs to five year olds, has died in committee. Treon Goosen, of Concerned Parents of Colorado, has reported she was assured by Representative Don Lee, H.B. 1177 would be officially killed soon.

Action Requested:
None at this time.

HSLDA's Position:
HSLDA opposes this bill for several reasons.

  • First of all, while kindergarten attendance is optional at this time, making the provision of the program mandatory for the school district is the first step toward requiring student attendance.
  • The financial impact of the bill will result in increased taxes. The bill requires every district to provide kindergarten programs, and reduces the eligibility age for these programs from six to five years of age. Taxes will be raised as a result of the increased attendance.
  • Studies by education expert have demonstrated that children who are admitted to school too early will often burn out, become underachievers, and display developmental problems.
  • A review of compulsory attendance laws across the nation shows that requiring young children to attend school may be largely unnecessary. Only nine states require attendance of 5 year olds, and seven of those nine allow exemptions for parents to withhold their children from school until age 6. The other 41 states allow parents to wait until their children are 6, 7, or even 8 years old before beginning formal education.
  • A state-by-state comparison of student performance based on compulsory attendance ages revealed no significant benefit for children starting school at an earlier age.

 Other Resources

Bill Text

Article: Mandatory Kindergarten is Unnecessary

2/7/2003 - Colorado--Legislative Update