Illinois law changes age for students to begin school - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Illinois law changes age for students to begin school

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Governor Pat Quinn wants to see kids get a jump start at school through a new Illinois law that would require students to be enrolled by age six instead of seven. Governor Pat Quinn wants to see kids get a jump start at school through a new Illinois law that would require students to be enrolled by age six instead of seven.
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ILLINOIS (KFVS) -

Governor Pat Quinn wants to see kids get a jump start at school through a new Illinois law that would require students to be enrolled by age six instead of seven.

Quinn says it's a way to help with attendance and give kids the advantage of early education.

Some say it's a change more in line with what parents are doing already.

Unity Point School Principal April Haar says it's not that five is too young of an age to start school, but that age seven might be too late.

"Their focus is on getting those academic and those social skills started quickly at a young age," Haar said.

Haar says a majority of her students enroll in kindergarten at age five, and some start school even earlier.

"Many parents are putting their children in at age three into pre-school," she said.

According to the new law, any student turning six years old on or before September 1 must be enrolled to attend school for that school year.

Already, the minimum compulsory attendance age is six in 26 states.

State representative Mike Bost voted 'no' for the bill.

He says it's not up to the government to decide when it's time for a child to start school, but that decision should be for left for the parents.

"A quality parent can identify when that child is ready," he said.

Bost says the effort to lower it even more is a possibility.

At first, supporters wanted to see the law stand at age five.

"Others already want to roll it back even further than that," said Bost

State officials have estimated that lowering the age would cost roughly $28 million.

Principal Haar says because the law is more in line with what parents are already doing-she doesn't predict much of a financial change.

"I don't see it impacting us very much," she said.

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