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Indiana official pushing for mandatory kindergarten

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — Indiana’s state school superintendent is pushing for mandatory kindergarten statewide, saying children who don’t attend could face disadvantages when they start formal schooling.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick tells the (Terre Haute) Tribune-Star that while the Legislature provided additional funding for pre-K this year, some children may not follow up with kindergarten because state law doesn’t require attendance.

McCormick said she supports the additional pre-K funding, but that the state needs to take steps to make sure education continues.

“If we’re going to have pre-K paid for, for our most at-risk, and allow them to take a potential sabbatical and come back to us, that’s a problem,” she said Wednesday during a presentation to Vigo County and Wabash Valley school administrators and educators at Indiana State University.

McCormick said about 7,000 children in Indiana aren’t enrolled in kindergarten. She said they could face many disadvantages when they start school.

Legislation that would’ve required parents to send their children to kindergarten has been introduced in recent years, but it hasn’t advanced in the Republican-dominated Legislature. McCormick said she would advocate for the legislation during the 2018 legislative session.

“We’re going to go after that legislation. We’re creating a lot of noise,” McCormick said.

McCormick, a Republican, was the Yorktown school district superintendent before she won last November’s election over her predecessor, Glenda Ritz, who frequently clashed with GOP leaders over education policy.

Indiana is among 16 states that don’t require school attendance until age 7, according to the Education Commission of the States. Fifteen states require children to attend kindergarten at age 5 or before enrolling in first grade.


Information from: Tribune-Star,

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