Illinois Compulsory Attendance Age Lowered to 6 Years of Age

Memorial Day seems like a strange time to pass important legislation.  Unless you’re in Illinois.  After much debate and opposition from the minority party, the Illinois House passed Senate Bill 1307 calling for  compulsory attendance age to be reduced to 6 years of age.  This bill’s requirements are expensive and was opposed by parental choice advocates, along with local school administrators. The governor is expected to sign this bill.

Teachers unions support the bill as part of the platform.

Illinois Education Association (IEA) on:

Home Schooling

The Association opposes home schooling programs because such programs lack state oversight and cannot provide students with comprehensive education experiences. When home schooling occurs, those students must meet all state requirements. Home school programs must include parental registration with the Regional Office of Education and those individuals providing instruction must be qualified having passed a course or coursed in education approved by the ISBE and must utilize a curriculum approved by the ISBE. The local public school system should have the authority to determine grade placement and/or credits earned toward graduation for students entering or re-entering the public school system from a home school setting.

Early Childhood Education

The Association urges the legislature to establish an early childhood education program beginning at birth. This program shall be provided by appropriately certificated and licensed education employees. The design and structure of early childhood programs should be determined by the developmental needs of the children in those programs. Early childhood programs should provide all children with meaningful education and developmental opportunities based on developmentally appropriate practices. Assessment tools selected to measure early childhood student progress and growth shall be developmentally appropriates as defined by the National Association of the Education of Young Children and supported by research. Early childhood programs should beprovided with services and funding equal to those provided to children in grades first through eighth.

Mandatory Kindergarten 

Kindergarten should be a mandatory program with additional funding provided from school districts offering the option of a full-day program for all kindergarten students. The Association further advocates a realistic mandatory minimum age requirement.Kindergarten attendance should be mandatory before entrance into the first grade for resident students. In addition school districts should provide a transitional/developmental class for students who have completed preschool but are not ready for kindergarten and also for students who have completed kindergarten but are not ready for first grade. Funding for kindergarten programs should be equal to that provided for children in grades first through eight.

The original sponsor, Kimberly Lightford, also has homeschoolers in her sights.  After these Memorial Day shenanigans, Illinois homeschoolers should not assume we’re untouchable.

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