December 12, 2006

House Bill 377: An Act Lowering the Compulsory Attendance Age

Representatives Roebuck, Bishop, Curry, Leach, Shaner, Sturla, D. Evans, Stetler, Blackwell, Caltagirone, Cruz, Donatucci, Harper, Josephs, W. Keller, Lederer, McGeehan, Reiger, J. Taylor, Thomas, Washington, Williams, and Youngblood.

This bill would have applied to school districts of the first class. This bill would lower the compulsory attendance age from 8 to 6. The lower age would not apply to a child whose parents gave notice under the homeschool law that the child’s education was to be provided by the parent. While this would not require parents with children under 8 to comply with the homeschool law, the parents would still be bound to provide some form of education to the child. This bill represents an expansion of state control over education and imposes additional requirements on parents intending to homeschool.

02/09/2005Introduced and Referred to Education Committee
03/16/2005House Education Committee Hearing
04/04/2005Amended and Laid on the Table
5/9/2005Removed from Table for second consideration and referred to Appropriations Committee
6/6/2005Re-reported as committed
6/21/2005Third consideration and final passage
6/22/2005Referred to Senate Education Committee
10/17/2006 Reported as committed and first consideration
10/18/2006Second consideration with amendments and re-referred to appropriations.
11/28/2006 This bill died with the Legislature adjourned

HSLDA's Position:
This bill should be opposed.

Action Requested:
None at this time.

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

Mandatory Kindergarten Is Unnecessary

Apr-04-2005 — Pennsylvania--Calls Needed to Oppose Lowering the Compulsory Attendance Age from Eight to Six

Mar-15-2005 — Pennsylvania--Calls Needed: Legislation Would Lower Compulsory Attendance Age from Eight to Six

Bill Text    (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Bill History