May 18, 2007

House Bill 1339: Early Kindergarten

Rep. Mary E. Flowers

In addition to Senator Raoul’s compulsory attendance bills, Representative Flowers is attempting to pass a bill (H.B. 1339) which would have 4-year olds in school. Children who are 4 years old, who have attended preschool, and who will be 5 within three months of the beginning of school year may, under this bill, enroll in kindergarten. The law currently states that a child must be 5 years old as of September 1.

2/20/2007(House) Filed with the Clerk by Rep. Mary E. Flowers
2/20/2007(House) First Reading
2/20/2007(House) Referred to Rules Committee
2/22/2007(House) Assigned to Elementary & Secondary Education Committee
3/7/2007(House) Elementary & Secondary Education Committee Hearing, March 7, 2007 8 a.m., Capitol Building Room 114 Springfield, Illinois
3/20/2007(House) House Amendment No. 1 Filed with Clerk by Elementary & Secondary Education Committee
3/20/2007(House) House Amendment No. 1 Adopted in Elementary & Secondary Education Committee; by Voice Vote
3/20/2007(House) Motion Do Pass as Amended—Lost Elementary & Secondary Education Committee; 009-005-001
3/20/2007(House) Remains in Elementary & Secondary Education Committee
3/23/2007(House) Rule 19(a) / Re-referred to Rules Committee

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

Action Requested:
No action requested at this time.


  • According to the 2005 NAEP test scores, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. 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 page on compulsory attendance age legislation.

 Other Resources

Bill Text

Bill History

March-6-2007—Illinois—Help Needed to Stop Expansion of State Control Over Children