May 25, 2006

House Bill 2089: Mandatory Kindergarten for Five-Year-Olds

Representatives Arakaki, Abinsay, Chang, Ching, Evans, Green, Hale, Kahikina, Kanoho, Marumoto, Sonson, Takai, Thielen, Caldwell, Shimabukuro

H.B. 2089 would have required any child who turns 5 by January 1 to attend a public or private school or be homeschooled. Kindergarten or junior kindergarten would be mandatory if the child is 5 by that date. H.B. 2089 also removed guidelines which state when a child may attend kindergarten.

Two other bills were introduced in the House, H.B. 2088 and H.B. 2139, to lower the compulsory attendance age from 6 to 5 and make kindergarten mandatory.

Last year, many thought this legislation could not be stopped but your calls were successful in preventing this legislation from passing. We were successful again. Your calls prevented any movement on these bills.

If any of these bills passed, homeschool parents would have been required to file the notice of intent letter if their child turns 5 by January 1st. Parents would also have been required to submit an annual progress report at the end of their school year for their 5-year-old.

The Senate introduced a similar bill, Senate Bill 2186.

1/20/2006(House) To be Introduced and Pass First Reading
1/23/2006(House) Introduced and Passed First Reading
1/23/2006(House) Referred to House Education and Finance Committees
02/01/2006(House) Bill Scheduled To Be Heard By House Education On Friday, 02-03-06 At 2:00 Pm In House Conference Room 309.
02/03/2006(House) The Committee(S) Recommends That The Measure Be Deferred.

HSLDA's Position:
This bill was opposed.

Action Requested:


  • Lowering the compulsory attendance age from six to five would subject Hawaii home educators to the requirements of the homeschool laws one year earlier. (You do not need to share this reason with your legislators.)
  • 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.
  • It 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 schools.
For more information on compulsory attendance, please see our memorandum "Mandatory Kindergarten is Unnecessary."

 Other Resources

Jan.-24-2006—Hawaii—Calls Needed to Stop Mandatory Kindergarten

Feb.-2-2006—Hawaii—Another Mandatory Kindergarten Hearing

Bill Text (html)

Bill Text (pdf)

Bill History