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February 11, 2004

House Bill 1180: Mandating Kindergarten Programs For Five Year Olds

Sponsor:
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:

01/14/2004Introduced In House - Assigned to Education + Appropriations
02/04/2004Postponed Indefinitely

Action Requested:
None at this time.

HSLDA's Position:
HSLDA opposes this bill.

Background:
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 experts 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.

    See HSLDA's article "Mandatory Kindergarten is Unnecessary" for additional reasons to oppose the bill.

     Other Resources

    Article: Mandatory Kindergarten is Unnecessary

    Bill Text   (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)