House Bill 14: Mandatory Kindergarten, Lowering Compulsory School Attendance Age to 5


Last Updated: May 1, 2014
House Bill 14: Mandatory Kindergarten, Lowering Compulsory School Attendance Age to 5
Representative Thielen

House Bill 14 would require a child who turns 5 years old by August 1 to attend kindergarten. Although the bill description states the homeschooled children are exempt from the requirement, homeschool families would have to file their notice of intent when their child turns 5.

HSLDA's Position:

HSLDA is opposed to lowering the compulsory attendance age.

Action Requested:
None at this time

01/17/2013     House     Introduced and passed first reading
01/18/2013     House     Referred to House Education Committee and House Finance Committee
12/18/2013     House     Carried over to 2014 Regular Session
01/31/2014     House     Bill scheduled to be heard by House Education on Wednesday, 02-02-14 at 2 p.m. in the House Conference Room 309.
02/05/2014     House     Education committee recommended that the bill be passed with amendments.
02/12/2014     House     Reported from the Education Committee; Passed Second Reading as amended and referred to the committee on Finance.
02/18/2014     House     Scheduled to be heard by House Finance on Friday, 2-21-2014 at 1:00 p.m. in the House Conference Room 308.
02/21/2014     House     Scheduled to be heard by House Finance on Tuesday, 2-25-2014 at 11:00 a.m. in Conference Room 308.
02/25/2014     House     The Committee on House Finance recommends the measure be passed, with amendments.
02/28/2014     House     Third reading in 48 hours, Tuesday March 4, 2014.
03/04/2014     House     Passed third reading, as amended, transmitted to Senate.
03/06/2014     Senate     Received from the House; Passed first reading; Referred to Committees on Senate Education and Senate Ways and Means.
05/01/2014     Senate     Bill died when the legislature adjourned.


Lowering the compulsory attendance age from 6 to 5 would subject Hawaii home educators to the requirements of the homeschool statute one year earlier than now required. (You do not need to share this reason with your legislators.)

If Hawaii were to lower the compulsory school attendance age, it would join only eight other states that have their compulsory attendance age that low. Twenty-four states, including Hawaii, have their compulsory attendance age at 6. Sixteen states have it at 7 and two states wait until 8.

According to the 2005 NAEP test scores of children from states that have low compulsory school 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.

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 fifth 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 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.

 Other Resources

Bill Text

Bill History

Original Text