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Required School Enrollment Age Confusion:
Cutoff Date Changing again for this coming 2013-2014 School Year

Updated June 2013

When a parent inquires at what age their child is required to begin school, there may be some conflicting answers given. One reason for this could be confusion regarding the birthday cutoff dates for compulsory enrollment.

Last year (in 2012) a new law went into effect that adjusted the birthday cutoff dates for required school enrollment. The age of the child in question is unchanged -- it is still six years old (current law does not require kindergarten). What has changed is the cutoff date, that is the date by which the child must be six years old in order to be required to be enrolled in a school.

Previously, the law stated that any child turning six years old on or before December 1st was required to be enrolled in school. The new law moves that date incrementally earlier, with the eventual goal of the cutoff date being close to the beginning of the school year in September. Each year until 2014, the date will be moved earlier by one month. This is good for children because it means that more children will be able to wait longer before being required to enter school each school year. For example, this 2013-2014 school year that begins in August or September of this current year (2013), children that turn age 6 after October 1 will not have to enroll until 2014 for the beginning of the following 2014-2015 school year.

Here are the new dates for each school year:

School Year 2012-2013
A child is required to be enrolled in school if he/she turns six years old on or before November 1, 2012.

School Year 2013-2014
A child is required to be enrolled in school if he/she turns six years old on or before October 1, 2013.

School Year 2014-2015
A child is required to be enrolled in school if he/she turns six years old on or before September 1, 2014.

Every school year after 2014 will use the September 1st cutoff date.
Here are some examples that further clarify this for the upcoming 2013-2014 school year:

Johnny will turn six years old on September 15, 2013. Because his birthday is before the October 1st cutoff date, he must enroll in school for the 2013-2014 school year.

Anna will turn six years old on October 1, 2013. Because her birthday is on the October 1st cutoff date, she must also enroll in school for the 2013-2014 school year.

Tommy will turn six years old on October 9, 2013. Because his birthday is after the October 1st cutoff date, he will not be required to enroll in school for the 2013-2014 school year.

For homeschooling parents, this simply affects what year they must begin filing a Private School Affidavit (http://www.pheofca.org/FilingAnAffidavit.html).

These changes are all a result of the passage of SB 1381 in 2010, a bill we strongly supported and were excited to see pass. The net positive effect of this new law is to allow more time for a child enrolled in a campus-based school to be developing in the care of loving parents at home before being required to begin their formal education. Research shows that the older a child is before formal education begins, the better the child is likely to do long-term, throughout their formal education. Research also has shown that short-term gains from earlier entrance into formal education are lost in three years.

Please see our summary of documented research supporting the delay of formal education at http://www.childandfamilyprotection.org/eceissuesbgca.html.


This document is available at www.pheofca.org for your use personally or for distribution.

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