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House Bill 1283 will lower the compulsory school age for all children from 8 to 6 years old.
As it was originally written House Bill 1283 exempted homeschool parents from having to report to their local school district until their child is 8 years old. Apparently, this was done in an attempt to remove the concerns of the homeschooling community about lowering the compulsory attendance age. However, in all likelihood this would have caused several problems in the future. Homeschool students would still have been required to be taught at home when they turn 6. The homeschool family will only be exempted from reporting until their child turns 8. If any questions by local school officials or social services had come up during this time the parent would likely have had to provide some type of verification of their school program.
House Bill 1283 was then amended to require the declaration of intent to filed at age 6 but not require testing until age 8. While the changes recognized that parents would have been required to educate a child at 6, we still opposed the bill.
We don't believe lowering the compulsory attendance age is in the best interest of parental rights in Washington. While most students will begin school at 6, or earlier, this bill would have prevented parents from being able to decide when their child is ready to start school. Thankfully your calls helped stop the bill.
HSLDA was opposed to House Bill 1283 as it would have removed the ability of a parent to put off formal education until children are 8 years old. It will also require parents to comply with the home education requirements of Washington law (except reporting) two years earlier then they are currently required to.
1/22/2013 (House) First reading, referred to Education.
1/31/2013 (House) Public hearing in the House Committee on Education
2/14/2013 (House) Bill substituted, do pass.
2/25/2013 (House) Hearing in house Appropriations Subcommittee on Education-Do pass substituted bill.
3/08/2013 (House) Third Reading. Passed 74 to 23.
3/12/2013 (Senate) First Reading, referred to Early Learning & K-12 Education
3/22/2013 (Senate) Public Hearing in the Senate Committee on Early Learning & K-12 Education
3/17/2013 (Senate) Last day to consider opposite house bills. Bill is dead.
In addition to the fact that homeschool parents would have been required to begin formally educating their child at age 6, there were more concerns about House Bill 1283.
As the bill was originally written, when a report is made that a 6- or 7-year-old was not in school, a parent wouldn't have been able to simply claim they are homeschooling them. Instead, a homeschool family will likely have to provide some proof that they are in fact educating their child. Currently in Washington, if someone reports that your child is not in school, you would only need to demonstrate that he or she is not 8 yet or have the police/social worker verify with the local school district that you have filed your notice of intent. In a lot of situations the investigation is dropped before the parent is contacted because social services can simply contact the school district to verify the child is being homeschooled. Similarly, officials often don't bother investigating allegations involving 6- or 7-year-old children. That would have had to change if this bill had passed as it was originally writen.
Finally, under House Bill 1283, a special exemption was being created for homeschool parents to delay testing until their child is 8. Once the compulsory attendance age is lowered to 6 a future bill will only need to remove this exemption for homeschool families testing, and they
will have to fully comply with the law when their child is 6.
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 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.
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