In getting ready for last night’s interview with State Senator Kimberly Lightford, I was stunned to learn that under current state law, Illinois children are not required to go to school until age 7. That means that most kids don’t legally have to be in school until second grade.
I just assumed that all kids (besides those being home-schooled) had to be in school by kindergarten. But that’s not the case. If a parent enrolls a child before the child is 7, that parent is not under a legal obligation to make sure the child actually attends. So even if a school district has truant officers, those officers are helpless to do anything but request that a truant child return to school. In other words, there is no enforcement mechanism.
Lightford is proposing a bill that would lower the required attendance age to 5 years instead of 7. Other states have done that. And the evidence about the benefits of early schooling seems irrefutable. Other than home-schoolers, what parent would not want their child to have the benefit of those early education years?
To help make up your mind, watch last night’s segment: