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District of Columbia

January 21, 2003

Bill 15-40: Requires Public Schools to Provide Preschool

Author:
Councilmember Kevin Chavous, Ward 7

Summary:
Bill 15-40 is a rework of last year's Bill 14-261, which would have instituted mandatory preschool for the District of Columbia. However, 15-40 would not lower the compulsory attendance law; rather it would only require schools to provide education services to pre-K students if the parents so desire.

Status:
Bill 15-40 was introduced January 8, 2003.

Action Requested:
None at this time. We will continue to monitor this legislation.

Background:

On January 7 2003, Councilmember Kevin Chavous filed a new bill, Bill 15 40, which would allow three-year-olds (and even some two-year-olds) to attend public school in the District of Columbia. His new bill, which replaces his previous bill on the same topic, Bill 14-261, does not require such children to attend school. It permits them to attend.

Historically, "voluntary" school programs tend to lay the foundation for subsequent compulsory programs. If Bill 15-40 passes, HSLDA will watch to see if there are any subsequent efforts to make its provisions mandatory.

DC schools spend close to $11,000 per pupil. Much of this comes from federal tax dollars. Fewer than half of the employees in the system actually teach children. Studies show that the longer a child is in the DC system, the more his academic performance suffers. Offering such "education" to two and three-year-olds borders on the unconscionable. Never has so much been spent on so many to achieve so little.

HSLDA's Position:
HSLDA opposes this bill.