State’s School-starting Age Could Change
December 26, 2013 by IPBS’ Brandon Smith
The four state legislative leaders, as the Republican and Democrat leaders of each legislative chamber, say an increased emphasis on providing early childhood education will be a key focus of the upcoming session. Senate Democrats say that focus should include requiring Hoosier children to attend school at a younger age.
Under Indiana law, Hoosier children don’t have to attend school until they’re seven years old. That’s one of the latest mandatory school ages in the country. Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane says he was surprised to learn that the age had never been lowered, “By the time kids reach the age of seven, there’s so much development that should have occurred already. It’s crucial that we get the mandatory start age down.”
House Speaker Brian Bosma says enacting legislation to lower the school start age likely is not necessary, “We have some 96 percent of our kindergarten-aged children now with access to a full day kindergarten program and taking advantage of it. So by making the opportunities available, that question has almost solved itself.”
Bosma says the same principle applies to preschool – by making quality preschool options available and affordable for Hoosier families, more children will take advantage of the programs.