Legislator propose changing age for school attendance

A state legislator from Nome wants to change the ages for compulsory school attendance in Alaska public schools.

Rep. Neal Foster has proposed legislation calling for attendance by children from age 6 and until they turn 18. Foster says he thinks age five would be better but thinks it’s reasonable to change the youngest age to six.

Compulsory attendance under current law is for children between the ages of seven and 16.

Nowadays, Foster says people are expected to graduate high school at a minimum. He says he’s concerned about dropout rates in his district.

The bill, HB 335, includes exemptions. It wouldn’t apply, for example, if a child is getting a comparable education at a private school, is being homeschooled or if the child has completed the 12th grade.