Is Kindergarten Mandatory in NY now?
Is kindergarten mandatory in NY now? Does this mean we have to start reporting our homeschooling earlier? I thought we didn’t have to do any repairing until age 6?
Raise your hand if the passage of mandatory kindergarten in NYS has you as confused as the person who asked me those questions.
You too? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Here’s the scoop on kindergarten in NY.
While NYC and a few other select NY school districts have had mandatory kindergarten laws for a few years now, NY state as a whole will enter its first school year with mandatory kindergarten for the 2019/20 school year. Senate Bill S1624 passed both the Senate and the Assembly and now requires all students who turn 5 on or before December 1st to enroll in and attend kindergarten. Well, all students except for two groups….
(i) Minors whose parents elect not to enroll their children in school until the following September.
(ii) Students enrolled in non-public schools or in home instruction.
So, basically, Kindergarten isn’t actually mandatory for anyone in NY who wishes to opt out for another year and it most certainly is not mandatory for homeschoolers. What does this change for homeschool reporting? NOTHING. Reporting still starts in the school year in which the child turns 6, on or before December 1st (December 31st in NYC, with some debate).
This bill does serve a very specific need in NY. There are students and families in the state who want, need, or otherwise cannot avoid traditional schooling. This bill ensures they have access to kindergarten, regardless of their socio-economic status, background, race, etc. Those students are now guaranteed a kindergarten seat, which comes with access to food, resources, and care while their adults work. For homeschoolers though, nothing changes.