Originally Sent: 5/20/2013

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Nevada: Calls Needed Immediately to Oppose SB 182

Bill Lowers Compulsory School Attendance Age from 7 to 5

Homeschooling in Nevada

Thank you for supporting parental rights.



HSLDA President Mike Smith has been an advocate for homeschooling for more than 30 years.
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Sponsors: Senators Smith, Woodhouse, Denis, Jones, Ford, Atkinson, Kihuen, Manendo, Parks, Segerblom, and Spearman

Status:
Hearing on SB 182 in Senate Finance Committee, Monday, May 20 at 8:00 a.m.

SB 182 is the bill that will require “all-day kindergarten” to be offered in every public school in every district at a cost to the state of $90 million over two years. In addition to the expense, this bill erodes the decision-making process of local school boards and the concept of “local control of education.” Each school district and local school board should be the ones to decide if and where all-day kindergarten is offered in their community; this should not be mandated by the state.

Further, the bill lowers the compulsory attendance age for entry into school from 7 to 5 years of age for all public, private and homeschool children. This should be a decision made by a child’s parent, not the government. Many children are simply not ready to begin formal education at age 5. We appreciate that the bill sponsor amended SB 182 to partially address the issue by allowing parents to exempt their child from attendance at age 5. However, we believe it is reasonable that the compulsory attendance age remain at 7 so that parents, and not the state, decide the age of enrollment. “Choice in education” also means that parents are best suited to decide at what age their child should attend school.

Action Requested

1. Please call or email each senator on the Senate Finance Committee and ask him or her to vote against SB 182. Please explain in your own words that this bill:

  • Places a huge burden on the Nevada taxpayer and is not in the governor’s budget;
  • Requires higher taxes that Nevadans can’t afford;
  • Takes away local control of education by mandating school districts to provide all-day kindergarten in every school; and
  • Undermines the right of parents to decide when their child is ready for school, even with the amendment on the bill.

2. Attend the Senate Finance Committee hearing if you can. Sign in and mark “against” SB 182. The hearing is at 8:00 a.m. in Room 2134 of the Nevada Legislature in Carson City. The hearing will be videoconferenced to Room 4412 of the Grant Sawyer State Office Building in Las Vegas (555 E. Washington Ave., Las Vegas).

3. Vote against SB 182, if you haven’t already done so, at the Nevada Legislative Opinion page.

4. Please forward this email to all Nevada residents who are concerned about educational freedom in Nevada, requesting them to vote online and oppose SB182.

Members of the Senate Committee on Finance

Debbie Smith, Chair (775) 684-1433
Debbie.Smith@sen.state.nv.us

Joyce Woodhouse, Vice-Chair (775) 684-1457
Joyce.Woodhouse@sen.state.nv.us

David R. Parks (775) 684-6504
David.Parks@sen.state.nv.us

Mo Denis (775) 684-1428
Moises.Denis@sen.state.nv.us

Ben Kieckhefer (775) 684-1450
Ben.Kieckhefer@sen.state.nv.us

Michael Roberson (775) 684-1481
Michael.Roberson@sen.state.nv.us

Pete Goicoechea (775) 684-1447
Pete.Goicoechea@sen.state.nv.us

Background

SB 182 will lower the compulsory attendance age for entry into school from 7 to 5 years of age. This requirement will apply to all children, whether their parents planned to send them to public school, private school or homeschool.

By amending Nevada Revised Statutes § 392.040 to lower mandatory attendance from 7 to 5 years of age, all children, including homeschooled children, would have to start school at age 5. In other words, homeschoolers would have to file their notice of intent at age 5.

Analysis

Requiring children to attend school at age 5 is a very bad idea for the following reasons:

1. SB 182 forces children into school too soon. There are no long-term replicable studies proving that mandating attendance at age 5 rather than 7 is better for the educational development of the child. To the contrary, there is much research indicating that early childhood education does not improve the child’s potential for being a better student in the future, because early gains disappear in a few of years. This is especially significant for boys, because their cognitive and verbal skill development generally lags behind that of girls at this age.

2. SB 182 is not necessary. Parents who desire to enroll their children at age 5 in Nevada can choose to do so already. To force parents to start children in school at the age of 5 interferes with their fundamental right to direct the education of their children and to make wise choices regarding the readiness for their children for education. Many children are simply not ready for school at 5 years old.

3. SB 182 decreases beneficial parental contact with their children. Two extra years of development outside of school can be critical for a child at this early age. Carl Zinsmeister, adjunct research associate at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, says, “Declining parental attachment is an extremely serious risk to children today. The verdict of enormous psychological literature is that time spent with the parent is the very clearest correlate of healthy child development.” Parents should continue to have the authority to decide what is best for their children.

4. SB 182 is based on faulty information. This attempt to bring children into formal education programs at a younger age is based on an erroneous assumption. Arthur Jensen, a learning psychologist, wrote in the Harvard Educational Review in 1969 that Benjamin Bloom’s conclusion that people develop 50% of their mature intelligence by the age of 4 is a statistically unwarranted conclusion. In 1970, Nancy Bayley, a University of California child psychologist whose data Bloom used, pointed out that Bloom’s theory was wrong because it was based on an inadequate definition of intelligence. In spite of statements to the contrary, there is no solid evidence that early education brings any lasting or permanent educational benefit to a child. The conclusions being drawn based on recent studies of child’s brain development are similar to the above faulty conclusions. The fact that a young child’s brain develops rapidly does not warrant the faulty conclusion that more institutionalized and peer-dominated settings improve the child’s mental, emotional, and social development. There are studies that have demonstrated the opposite.

5. SB 182 would have an adverse financial impact on all Nevadans. This increase in the kindergarten population will increase the financial burden on the state’s ability to fund its public education programs. This will result in the need to increase state education revenues. Increases in education revenues come either as direct increases in taxes from citizens; approving and selling bonds, which moves the tax burden to future generations; or transferring funds from another part of the state budget.

Sincerely,

Mike Smith
HSLDA President

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