March 30, 2005

House Bill 50: An Act Lowering the Compulsory Attendance

Representatives Dunn, Robinson (O), Salaam, Perdue, Coleman (L), Coleman, (M), Graham, Schmitz, Spicer, Boyd, Sherer, Grantland, and Melton.

This bill would have gradually lowered the compulsory attendance age from seven to five. In addition to the tremendous cost to taxpayers for construction of additional school facilities and hiring more teachers, this legislation would have effectively prevented parents from determining when their child is ready for formal instruction. All children age five, regardless of maturity or readiness, would have been required to attend school.

02/01/2005Referred to Education Finance and Appropriations
02/17/2005Amended in Education Finance and Appropriations Committee
5/3/2005Indefinitely Postponed
5/16/2005Bill died when Legislature adjourned
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HSLDA's Position:
This bill was opposed.

Action Requested:
None at this time.

The current compulsory attendance age in Alabama is seven through 16 years of age. House Bill 50 provides that during the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 school years, the compulsory attendance age would be lowered to the age of six through 16 years old. During the 2008-2009 school year, the compulsory attendance age would be lowered to the age of five through 16 years of age.

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. The bill would restrict parents' freedom to decide if their children are ready for school.

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 school.

For more information on compulsory attendance, please see our memorandum at

 Other Resources

Feb-18-2005 — Alabama--Calls Needed: Legislation Would Lower Compulsory Attendance Age from Seven to Five

Bill Text

Bill History