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#7 K-Power - Kindergarten Attendance

All Schools Should:

Require all children to attend kindergarten when age eligible.

What are policies in states around required kindergarten attendance?

Only 14 states and DC mandate kindergarten attendance.[1] Furthermore, the compulsory school age varies state to state from age five to age eight[2]:

  • In nine states the compulsory school age is 5
  • In 26 states the compulsory school age is 6
  • In 14 states the compulsory school age is 7
  • In two states the compulsory school age is 8

 

Why should kindergarten attendance be mandatory?

All children should have equal opportunity to meet the more rigorous standards begin set in place from kindergarten onwards.  When children do not attend kindergarten, they bear the risk of entering 1st grade (and, in some cases, 2nd grade) behind their peers - not only in math and reading, but socialization opportunities, physical development, and approaches to learning.   As high-stakes tests become more commonplace, ensuring every child has equal time to learn the skills they are tested on is only fair. Furthermore, when all children attend kindergarten, teachers in the grades that follow can avoid playing catch up and, instead, work towards higher-level goals that build on the strong foundations laid by earlier learning opportunities – making classes stronger as a whole.

Additionally, requiring attendance when age eligible circumvents redshirting, the practice of holding a child back a year so he/she enters kindergarten about a year older than peers and, presumably, more advantaged in skills (for more information on redshirting, see statement #10).

 

Resources

ECS. (2013). Child must attend kindergarten. Denver, CO: Author. Retrieved from http://ecs.force.com/mbdata/mbquestU?SID=a0i70000004J3cq&rep=Kq03&Q=Q3198

ECS. (2013). Compulsory school age. Denver, CO: Author. Retrieved from http://ecs.force.com/mbdata/mbquestU?SID=a0i70000004J3cq&rep=Kq01&Q=Q3196


[1] ECS. (2013). Child must attend kindergarten. Denver, CO: Author. Retrieved from http://ecs.force.com/mbdata/mbquestU?SID=a0i70000004J3cq&rep=Kq03&Q=Q3198

[2] ECS. (2013). Compulsory school age. Denver, CO: Author. Retrieved from http://ecs.force.com/mbdata/mbquestU?SID=a0i70000004J3cq&rep=Kq01&Q=Q3196