Senate Bill 86: Kindergarten Bill


Last Updated: February 17, 2011
Senate Bill 86: Kindergarten Bill
Sen. Will Espero

Senate Bill 86 would require a child who turns 5 years old by August 1 to attend kindergarten beginning in the 2013–2014 school year.

HSLDA's Position:
Action Requested:
None at this time

2/14/11 (Senate) Education Committee deferred the measure.
12/1/2011 (Senate) Carried over to 2012 Regular Session.
5/3/2012 (Senate) Died with the closing of the 2012 Regular Session.


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.

For more information on compulsory attendance, please see our memorandum.

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