Topic:
KINDERGARTEN; ELEMENTARY EDUCATION; EDUCATION (GENERAL);
Location:
EDUCATION - (GENERAL);

OLR Research Report


May 31, 2000

 

2000-R-0565

MANDATORY KINDERGARTEN

 

By: Judith Lohman, Chief Analyst

You asked which states have mandatory kindergarten or pre-school for all children.

SUMMARY

According to the Education Commission of the States, as of March 2000, 36 states, including Connecticut and the District of Columbia, require local school districts to offer kindergarten programs. Kindergarten attendance is mandatory in 12 states and the District of Columbia.

No state has mandatory preschool, but a few states offer universal preschool including Georgia, New York, and Oklahoma. Many other states, including Connecticut, offer preschool for children in certain school districts. For your further information, we enclose a recent Washington Post article that describes states' preschool education programs (“States Expect Early Education Benefits,” March 12, 2000).

DISTRICTS REQUIRED TO OFFER KINDERGARTEN

The following states require local school districts to offer kindergarten to all children:

Alabama

Alaska

Arizona

Connecticut

Delaware

District of Columbia

Florida

Georgia

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Minnesota

Mississippi

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

Ohio

Oklahoma

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Vermont

Virginia

West Virginia

Wisconsin

KINDERGARTEN ATTENDANCE REQUIRED

The following states require students to attend kindergarten:

Alaska

Arizona*

Delaware

District of Columbia

Florida

Louisiana

Maryland

Ohio

Oklahoma

Rhode Island

South Carolina*

Tennessee

Virginia

*Parents may request a waiver of the requirement.

JL:ro