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New York

May 11, 2009

Assembly Bill 4555: Lowers Compulsory School Attendance Age from 6 to 5

Author:
Assemblywomen Suzi Oppenheimer

Summary:
Assemblywomen Suzi Oppenheimer has introduced a compulsory attendance bill which would lower the compulsory school attendance age from 6 to 5 and require a full day of kindergarten. If passed, Assembly Bill 4555 would require children to attend school a full year earlier than they are currently required to.

Homeschool parents would be required to file a notice of intent, the Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP), quarterly reports and annual assessment beginning when their child turns 5. In essence A.B. 4555 a full year for reporting for homeschool parents!

Additionally, taxes will inevitably go up to pay for the cost of another year of compulsory school attendance.

Status:

4/24/2009(Assembly) Introduced and referred to Education Committee.

HSLDA’s Position:
HSLDA is opposed to A.B. 4555.

Action Requested:
No actions are requested at this time.

Background:
Some of the problems with lowering the compulsory attendance are listed below.

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. While this bill has an “exception” provision for students who are enrolled in non-public or homeschools, it would still require all 5-year-olds to be enrolled in a homeschool program. As a result, a parent would now be required to file the IHIP, quarterly reports and achievement tests when their child reached 5 years of age. Consequently this would require homeschool parents to file for their children a year earlier that they do now! This would not be genuine exception.

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 “Early Education Shows No Benefit” .

 Other Resources

HSLDA Issues Library: Compulsory Attendance Age Legislation

Bill Text

Bill History