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Numbers: Let's Make 16 States Lower School Starting Age

image from farm5.staticflickr.comMaybe the President should propose a dramatic change in when kids are required to start school, setting a mandatory age of, I don't know, six.  That'd be exciting, wouldn't it? And perhaps even sensible, policy-wise, if not politically viable.

Currently, there are 16 states that don't require kids to go to school until 7 or even 8 years of age.  Fourteen states require school at age 7; 26 states already require it at age 6; 6 set it at 5; and 2 set it at 8, according to this Chicago Tribune story on the proposal to lower the age from 7 to 5 in Illinois.  

There are obviously some costs as well as benefits to having kids start earlier, though not as much additional cost as I would have thought.  Have states been raising the age to save money, I wonder?  That would be just about what states do when times are tight.   Then there are quality issues regarding the instruction and curriculum, space issues in some districts, and a major distinction between half-day and full-day kindergarten (which is still somewhat unusual). Image via CCFlickr


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