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House Bill 1302 would lower the compulsory school attendance age in Indiana from 7 to 5. This bill would also require that for the 2013-2014 school year and beyond children who turn 5 will have to be enrolled in a kindergarten program no later than the fall term of the school year that the child becomes 5 years of age.
HSLDA was opposed to House Bill 1306 because it would have limited parents' freedom to decide when their child is ready for school.
1/14/2013 (House) First Reading; Referred to Committee on Education.
- Lowering the compulsory attendance age from 7 to 5 subjects Indiana home educators to maintain attendance records two years earlier than currently required.
- According to the 2005 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) report, test scores of 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 examined Stanford 9 test scores and found that while Arizona kindergarten programs initially improved learning they had 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 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.
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For more information on compulsory attendance, please see our memorandum.