What should the compulsory age of attendance be?
Indiana state Superintendent Jennifer McCormick is proposing to lower the state’s compulsory age of attendance from 7 to 6, according to WLKY.
A press statement said: “As we move toward the 2018 legislative session we will roll out an agenda that discusses this more in-depth, and ways in which we can better prepare children for their future."
A 2015 bill would have lowered the age a child must be enrolled in school to 5, but the bill did not pass.
According to the Education Commission of the States, most states, 26, require children to be enrolled in school by age 6. Indiana is among the 14 where 7 is the age of compulsory attendance, and in two states — Pennsylvania and Washington — the age is 8. In eight states, the compulsory school age is 5.
While most families look forward to sending their children to school, some prefer to hold their children out until they are older with the idea that children will be more successful in school if they start later. Recent research confirms that older children in a class tend to have an advantage. But there are also sometimes cultural and practical reasons why parents don’t enroll their children as soon as the law allows. Some parents prefer that children remain with family members as long as possible, while other working parents might choose to keep a child in full-day child care if their local district only provides half-day kindergarten.
Finally, even though states have expanded public preschool programs to provide early-education opportunities for children from low-income homes — with the theory that the sooner children are in school the better — there are still ongoing debates over how academically focused classrooms for young children should be. A 2016 study by University of Virginia researchers, which compared kindergarten classrooms in 1998 to those in 2010, found that teachers “devoted more time to advanced literacy and math content, teacher-directed instruction, and assessment and substantially less time to art, music, science, and child-selected activities.”
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