House Bill 1466: Mandatory Kindergarten, Lowering Compulsory School Attendance Age to 5


Last Updated: May 1, 2014
House Bill 1466: Mandatory Kindergarten, Lowering Compulsory School Attendance Age to 5
Representative Ward

House Bill 1466 lowers the compuslory school attendance age from 6 years to 5 years. HB 1466 would require a child who turns 5 years old by July 31 of the 2013-2014 school year to attend kindergarten at a public or private school. Additionally, it would establish voluntary junior kindergarten programs for children age 4.

HSLDA's Position:

HSLDA is opposed to lowering the compulsory school attendance age.

Action Requested:
None at this time

01/24/2013     House     Introduced and passed first reading
01/28/2013     House     Referred to House Education Committee and House Finance Committee
12/18/2013     House     Carried over to the 2014 Regular Session
05/01/2014     House     Bill died when 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.

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 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 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