Senate Bill 2062, sponsored by Sen. Briggs Hopson, and SB 2022, sponsored by Sen. David Jordan, would lower the compulsory education age from 6 to 5 and move the age clock from September 1 to August 1.
Mississippi, like every state in the nation, has compulsory school attendance laws that require a student to be in school, whether public or private, or to be homeschooled, beginning at a certain age and through a certain age, at a minimum.
In Mississippi, the mandatory compulsory age is 6. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, exactly half the states in the country have the same age for compulsory attendance. Even Massachusetts, the father of compulsory education, is 6 years old. Thirteen states set the mandatory age at 7 and two, Pennsylvania and Washington, set it at 8. The remaining ten states, plus the District of Columbia, set the mandatory age at 5 as this proposed bill would do.
The bill would also add this definition to school: “Relative to kindergarten-age children, school shall mean any licensed public, parochial or nonpublic school kindergarten program or legitimate homeschool kindergarten program which promotes services that address the cognitive, social and emotional needs of five-year-old children.”
As we write in Governing By Principle, parents, not the government, are responsible for the education and upbringing of their children. While most families choose to send their children to kindergarten, the decision should be still left to the parents. We should be expanding parental freedoms, rather than expanding the powers of government.
MCPP has reviewed this legislation and finds that it violates our principles and therefore must be opposed.
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