June 22, 2007

Senate Bill 1079: Tax-Funded Early Education Program

Senate Education Committee

Senate Bill 1079 does two things: (1) permits public schools to offer the program for 4-year olds and (2) sets a budget to fund these programs from taxpayer money. HSLDA is working closely with Idaho Coalition of Home Educators (ICHE) to oppose this bill.

For 23 years HSLDA has been battling the slow advancement and expansion of compulsory attendance age. The National Education Association and various child welfare organizations have been pushing to get children under the supervision of the state at as an early age as possible. Senate bill 1079 is another example of the proverbial “foot in the door”; once the program is established for 4-year olds, the next step is to mandate enrollment of 4-year olds. Research has shown that early education does not make smart students (see Background below).

2/2/2007Senate introduced, first Reading
2/5/2007Assigned to Senate Education Committee
2/16/2007Report out amend, to engross
2/19/2007Report engross, first reading
2/20/2007Second reading
3/1/2007Report out as amended
3/6/2007Passed the Senate 19-16
3/8/2007Assigned to House Education
4/6/2007Legislature closed, bill died

HSLDA's Position:
HSLDA is opposed to this bill.

Action Requested:
None requested at this time.


  • According to the 2005 NAEP 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.
  • A report published February 6, 2007 by the Goldwater Institute examines Stanford 9 test scores and finds Arizona kindergarten programs initially improve learning but have no measurable impact on reading, math, or language arts test scores by 5th 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 mandatory schooling is the inevitable tax increase to pay for more classroom space and teachers to accommodate the additional students compelled to attend public schools. When California raised the age of compulsory attendance, unwilling students were so disruptive that new schools had to be built just to handle them and their behavior problems, all at the expense of the taxpayer.

For more information on compulsory attendance, please see our Issues Library webpage on compulsory attendance age legislation.

 Other Resources

Bill Text

Bill History