Family groups oppose bill that will force five-year-olds to attend school

.- A new bill that will force five-year-olds to attend school will receive a hearing tomorrow in the state Legislature.

AB 56, a bill sponsored by Democrat Darrell Steinberg, would lower the age of compulsory education from six to five.

The bill states that there is a “compelling need … to ensure that early childhood development programs and services are universally and continuously available for children so that children enter school in optimum health and are emotionally well developed and ready and able to learn.”

The bill would provide “universal preschool programs that offer group experiences, developmentally appropriate curricula, and allow for a seamless integration to K-12 education for all children three and four years of age.”

However, the bill has received opposition from family groups.

AgapePress reported that Family Protection Ministries and the Home School Legal Defense Association have argued that the bill would force kids to school too soon and that it would eventually take "incremental steps" toward a universal preschool program that would lower the age for compulsory instruction to three or four. Formal education at such a young age is detrimental to children, they say.

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