The measure has been proposed by Springfield Representative Sara Lampe.
The Democrat's proposal would lower the compulsory age to attend school from seven to six. Lampe's bill would also require all public schools to have full-day kindergarten programs.
|Run Time: 00:18|
|Description: We know that money put in the area of pre-school education makes a huge difference in terms of graduation rate. It lowers drop-out rates. It lowers prison and incarceration rates. All of that is affected by having high quality pre-school experiences.|
Lampe says resistance could come from private schools that could lose money to public schools and from schools that object to the cost of full-day kindergarten programs.
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|Description: It will force some school districts, quite frankly, to add full day kindergartens where they haven't in the past. And that likely is an increased expense. My guess is that's not going to be real popular, especially when we know we're cutting back most departments in the state of Missouri right now. But at some point we have to start the conversation that pre-schoolers are important.|
Deputy Commissioner for Missouri's Education Department Bert Schulte says kids typically begin school at age five or six.
The bill's age change, he says, would put in to law what is already in practice across Missouri.
But Schulte also says that a full-day kindergarten requirement could affect some districts.
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|Description: The requirement of having full-day kindergarten in every school district beginning of next school year could have some impact on, I think there are about 14 school districts in the state that do not currently have a full-day kindergarten program, many of those 14 would have students that attend on a half-day basis. And the implications of space and staffing and so forth, it may be a bit ambitious to expect all those districts to accommodate full-day kindergarten in that short time frame.|
How Lampe's bill will fare is unknown, but mandating changes for school districts usually faces resistance in tough budget times.
Reporting from Jefferson City, I'm Rebecca Layne ... KSMU.