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July 11, 2006

Assembly Bill 10297: Mandatory Kindergarten for 5-Year-Olds

Author:
Assemblyman Clark

Summary:
Assembly Bill 10297 would have enabled all school districts to require all children to attend school if they will turn 5 on or before December 1 of that school year. While this bill claimed to have an “exemption” for homeschool and nonpublic school students, the exemption had no effect because the bill required that the student be “enrolled” in a homeschool or nonpublic school to be exempt.

Therefore, all homeschoolers would have had to submit a notice of intent for their 5-year-olds as well as an Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP) and quarterly reports in order to claim that the child is “enrolled” in a homeschool program. There was no exemption.

Status:

3/15/2006(House) Introduced And Referred To Committee On Assembly Education
6/23/2006Legislature is closed

HSLDA's Position:
Oppose.

Action Requested:
None at this time.

Background:
This is the bill that we have been expecting since the Board of Regents refused to hear the concerns of parents this past fall. If you remember, we sent out an e-lert in October urging you to contact that Board of Regents and comment on the revisions to their policy statement entitled "Early Education for Student Achievement in a Global Community."

After hearing from several hundred concerned parents they continued to press on towards their goal of lowering the compulsory attendance age to 5, and implementing a state-wide pre-kindergarten program for 3 and 4-year-old children in every school district.

  • Lowering the compulsory attendance age from 6 to 5 would subject New York home educators to the requirements of the homeschool laws one year earlier. Homeschool parents would be required to submit a notice of intent, IHIP, and quarterly reports for their 5-year-old. (You do not need to share this reason with your legislators.)
  • 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.
  • It would restrict parents' freedom to decide if their children are ready for school.
  • 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 memorandum "Mandatory Kindergarten Is Unnecessary."

 Other Resources

Mar.-17-2006—New York—Calls needed to stop school for 5-year-olds

Bill Text

Bill History