Education Committee held a hearing yesterday on HB 4662 which would amend the Revised School Code to (1) require school districts to provide kindergarten and (2) require parents to send five-year-olds to school.
Currently under the law, five-year-olds have the right to attend school, but are not required to do so. The law specifies instead that every parent, guardian, or other person having control and charge of a child from the age of six to the child's 16th birthday must send that child to a public school during the entire school year. (The law has exceptions for private schooling and home schooling, among other things.) House Bill 4662 would make the mandatory school attendance requirement apply at the age of five.
Additionally, in committee yesterday, a substitute bill was submitted to mandate all-day kindergarten.
Despite the School Code 380.10 which says that the education of children is that of the parents alone, when I asked Louise Somalski, the legislative director of the Michigan Federation of Teachers the question "Who is responsible for making sure our kids actaully get an education", I first got a "deer in the headlights" look. Finally, Louise recovered and answered that it was her belief that the reponsibility for educating our children rested with "society." Wow, that's a comforting thought!