Assistant Senate Majority Leader Lightford's bill proposal [SB 1307] lowers the compulsory school attendance age to 5 years of age from 7. It has moved to the Education Committee. State Senator Obama's replacement tried this twice before. That lack of success hasn't deterred the agenda.
The super-majority party in both houses lists this below as their education goal summary:
From early childhood to our universities, Illinois Senate Democrats support a comprehensive educational structure for Illinois children. Strengthening the curriculum, as well as enhancing funding, remain priorities for the caucus.
Five and six year old little ones don't need an educational structure to learn. Dr. Raymond Moore – California public school teacher, principal and superintendent – taught parents the "Better Late than Early" practice that was and is successful for many children. Holing up in institutional classrooms worrying about tests is not conducive for lifelong learning, let alone a helpful early start to the next twelve years of schooling. It shouldn't be forced by our public servants, in a desperate scramble for more money.
There should be useful school fixes for the problems in the current compulsory attendance age range between 7 and 17 years of age. Compulsory attendance age was increased here from 16 years of age to 17 a few years ago. There have been recent attempts to increase the age again to 18 years of age. The dropout/pushout issue was not resolved with the previous effort. Instead, it's become a bigger problem. One less year seems more appropriate after listening to this young man's testimony and the continued lack of solutions.
Lowering compulsory attendance age 2 more years will add to the already overwhelming financial burden poorly managed by our leaders in Illinois.
Now is the time to contact your Representatives and Senators, including the Senate Education Committee members. They've certainly heard from homeschoolers before, but that is not the leading message. From a homeschool standpoint, this is two more years where homeschoolers might, and do, in some areas, get official inquiries and attempts to put more children in the public school. But this should be a message from all Illinois families that adding more compulsory requirements to what already ails the Illinois school system will only help special interests, not the children. (Note Senator Lightford's top contributor in unopposed campaigns) Plus, our broken state of Illinois can't afford it.
Here are the members of the Education Committee and their embedded contact information below. The hearing date has not been set, but the majority's education agenda has been set. Let's change that path and demand current school problems are fixed first.
Education Committee Chair : William Delgado
Vice-Chair: Kimberly A. Lightford
Minority Spokesperson : David S. Luechtefeld