School start age could change for Illinois children

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A proposal that has been sent to Governor Pat Quinn’s desk would change the required school-start age in Illinois.

The Illinois governor is expected to sign the legislation, on Sunday, August 25, 2013, which would require children to start school at age six instead of age seven, according to the Quad City Times. The change would take effect in the fall of 2014.

Illinois is one of 14 states that hold age seven as the required starting age. Most states require children start school at ages five or six. Washington and Pennsylvania don’t require children to start school until they are eight, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures..

The report stated that supporters of the bill believe an earlier start will keep children from falling behind their peers in reading and math. Opponents argued that the age when a child starts school should be left up to the parents.

According to the Illinois General Assembly, parents or guardians of children who knowingly and willingly allow their children to not attend school can face up to 30-days in jail or a $500 fine.

Iowa law requires children start school at age six.