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Michigan

December 15, 2010

Senate Bill 122: Mandatory Kindergarten

Author:
Senator Irma Clark-Coleman

Summary:
Makes full-day kindergarten for 5-year-olds mandatory.

Status:

1/28/2009(Senate) Referred to Committee on Education
12/15/2010(Senate) Bill died when legislature adjourned

HSLDA’s Position:
HSLDA is opposed to this bill.

Action Requested:
None requested at this time.

Background:
Lowering the compulsory school attendance age would subject Michigan home educators to the requirements of the homeschool statute longer than is now required. (You do not need to share this reason with your legislators.)

According to the 2005 NAEP test scores, children from states that have low compulsory attendance ages (5-6) did not score any higher than children from the other states, and in some subjects their average was actually lower.

Many education experts have concluded that beginning a child’s formal education too early may actually result in burnout and poor scholastic performance later.

Lowering the compulsory attendance age erodes the authority of parents who are in the best position to determine when their child’s formal education should begin.

A report published February 6, 2007 by the Goldwater Institute examines Stanford 9 test scores and finds Arizona kindergarten programs initially improve learning but have no measurable impact on reading, math, or language arts test scores by fifth grade.

The data show that students in schools with all-day kindergarten programs have statistically significant higher 3rd-grade test scores, but there is no impact on 5th-grade scores. This finding is consistent with previous research. Forcing children into school early delivers short-term benefits at best.

Another significant impact of expanding the compulsory attendance age would be an inevitable tax increase to pay for more classroom space and teachers to accommodate the additional students compelled to attend public schools.

For more information on compulsory attendance, please see our issues library entry, Compulsory Attendance Age Legislation.

 Other Resources

Bill Text

Bill History