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June 22, 2007

Assembly Bill 157: Mandatory Kindergarten

Author:
Buckley, Oceguera, Anderson, Parnell, Smith, Arberry, Atkinson, Bobzien, Claborn, Conklin, Denis, Gerhardt, Hogan, Horne, Kihuen, Kirkpatrick, Koivisto, Leslie, Manendo, McClain, Mortenson, Munford, Ohrenschall, Parks, Pierce, Segerblom, Womack, Titus, Carlton, Care, Horsford, Wiener, Coffin, Lee, Mathews, Schneider, Woodhouse
*Bolded name indicates primary sponsorship

Summary:
AN ACT relating to education; providing for kindergarten for a full school day in the public elementary schools; and providing other matters properly relating thereto.

For 23 years HSLDA has been battling the slow advancement and expansion of compulsory attendance age. The National Education Association and various child welfare organizations have been pushing to get children under the supervision of the state at as an early age as possible. This bill is another example of the proverbial “foot in the door”; once the program is established for 4-year-olds, the next step is to mandate enrollment of 4-year-olds. Research has shown that early education does not make smart students.

Status:

2/23/2007(House) Read first time. Referred to concurrent Committees on Education and Ways and Means. To printer.
2/26/2007(House) From printer. To committees.
3/12/2007(House) Notice of eligibility for exemption.
3/13/2007(House) From concurrent Committee on Education: do pass.
3/13/2007(House) to concurrent Committee on Ways and Means.
3/13/2007(House) Exemption effective.
6/5/2007Legislature adjourned, bill died

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

Action Requested:
None requested at this time.

Background:

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.

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 mandatory schooling is the inevitable tax increase to pay for more classroom space and teachers to accommodate the additional students compelled to attend public schools. When California raised the age of compulsory attendance, unwilling students were so disruptive that new schools had to be built just to handle them and their behavior problems, all at the expense of the taxpayer.

For more information on compulsory attendance, please see our Issues Library page on compulsory attendance age legislation.

 Other Resources

Bill Text   (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Bill History