Assembly Bill 8567: Lowers the Compulsory School Age in Buffalo to 3 Years 9 Months

New York
New York

Last Updated: February 7, 2014
Assembly Bill 8567: Lowers the Compulsory School Age in Buffalo to 3 Years 9 Months
Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes

Assembly Bill 8567 would authorize the school board of Buffalo to lower the compulsory attendance age to 3 years, 9 months old. This bill would enable the school board of Buffalo to require any minor who will turn 4 years old by December 1 to be enrolled in pre-kindergarten instruction.

While there is an exception for parents who elect not to have their child enrolled until the following September, this would effectively mandate that every child in Buffalo who is 4 years and 9 months old (turning 5 by December 1) would required to be in school or enrolled in a private school or home instruction program. If enacted this would make Buffalo with the lowest compulsory attendance age in the country.

HSLDA's Position:

HSLDA is vigorously opposed to this bill as it interferes the the fundamental right of parents to direct their child's education. This bill would lower compulsory school attendance age to include toddlers, many of whom are not even ready for formal schooling.

Action Requested:

Please contact the sponsor and the Assembly Education Committee members listed below and give them this message in your own words:

"Please opposed Assembly Bill 8567. This bill would require children as young as 3 years and 9 months old to attend school. While there is an exemption that would allow parent to delay school attendance until the next school year, this would still require children to be forced to attend school at a younger age (4 years, 9 months) than anywhere in this nation. In addition, many studies have been conducted on the impact of early education on children. These studies have found that there is a small initial academic benefit but by grades 3 to 5 there is no academic difference between those had early education and those who did not. I firmly believe that a parent is in the best position to determine when a child is ready for school. Please opposed Assembly Bill 8567."

Assembly Education Committee members can be found online.

Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes' contact information can be found online.

A list of all of the Assembly members' email addresses can be found online.


01/23/2014     (Assembly)     Referred to Education Committee


Lowering the compulsory attendance age from 6 to 4 would subject New York home educators to the requirements of the homeschool statute at least one year earlier than they are currently required to report. If you are actually teaching your 4-year-old, then you would be required to report two years earlier than you are currently required to. (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 school attendance ages (5-6) did not score any higher than children from the other states, and in some subjects their average was actually lower. No state currently has a compulsory attendance age as low as 3 years, 9 months.

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 5th 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.

 Other Resources

Bill Text

Bill History

HSLDA's Issues Library entry on compulsory school attendance laws.