East Hawaii News

Kindergarten Now Mandatory for 5-Year-Olds in Hawaii

May 1, 2014, 3:12 PM HST
* Updated May 1, 3:14 PM
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Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed into law a bill that makes kindergarten mandatory for children who turn 5 years old before July 31 of the school year.

The move was the next logical step after Hawaii instituted state-funded prekindergarten, GG Weisenfeld, director of the state Executive Office on Early Learning, said in a statement.

“There is no greater core function of government than providing our children the opportunity to succeed in life through public education,” said House Education Committee Chair Rep. Roy Takumi said.

“Mandatory kindergarten is a key part of this effort and a timely one at that. Until now, there has not been a need to require all families to enroll their children in kindergarten,” Takumi said.

“But as we establish the first foundations of Hawaii’s early learning system, we need this important support to bridge the way for our children to succeed from prekindergarten throughout their school careers.”

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State law previously made school mandatory — with certain exceptions — only for children ages 6 and older.

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Act 76 will take effect by the upcoming 2014-2015 school year.

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