Illinois State Sen. Kimberly Lightford has introduced legislation to lower the mandatory school age from 7 to 5, the Chicago Tribune reported. The bill comes after a Tribune investigation found that nearly 1 in 8 children in grades K-8 missed four or more weeks of class in the 2010-2011 school year. The strategy was found to be helpful in Colorado, where lowering the compulsory age in 2007 from 7 to 6 helped raise attendance and third grade test scores.
Currently, eight states require attendance at age 5 and 26 states require it at 6. Illinois is one of the 14 states where the mandatory age is 7, while two other states set it at 8.