OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 5307

AN ACT PROHIBITING THE UNREASONABLE DELAY OF ENROLLING A CHILD IN KINDERGARTEN.

SUMMARY:

Under current law, a parent or person having control (i.e., guardian) of a child age 6 has the option to withhold the child from public school until age 7. This bill prohibits withholding a child age 6 unless (1) a licensed physician certifies the child should not attend school until age 7 or (2) the child is identified as having a developmental delay. The bill retains the option for a parent or guardian to withhold a child age 5 from school until he or she is 6. Under existing law and the bill, children are otherwise required to start public school at age 5 (or get equivalent instruction elsewhere, such as at a private school or though homeschooling).

The bill specifies that the developmental delay must be identified in a (1) birth-to-three program under the federal Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part C, or (2) in a preschool program, under IDEA, Part B (see BACKGROUND).

The bill and existing law define “developmental delay” as a significant delay in one or more of the following, as measured by appropriate diagnostic instruments and procedures and demonstrated by scores obtained on an appropriate standardized diagnostic assessment: (1) physical development; (2) communication development; (3) cognitive development; (4) social or emotional development; or (5) adaptive development.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2016

BACKGROUND

Federal IDEA

IDEA (20 USC 1400 et seq.) governs special education programs and procedures in states and in local school districts by (1) requiring that appropriate educational services be given to children with disabilities and (2) providing some funding for the services. IDEA Part B requires services for school-aged children and Part C requires early intervention programs for infants and toddlers. Connecticut law and regulations must comply with IDEA.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Education Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

27

Nay

3

(03/14/2016)