Mandatory education in the United States can be dated back to the fifteenth century. Children have almost always been required to attend formal schooling for at least a specific amount of years. In the United States, children are required to start school by the age of six and remain in school until they are at least sixteen years old. The exact age varies by state, but most states require a child to be in school by the age of 6-8. Parents can face legal consequences for not ensuring their children are getting a proper education in a school setting.
Though parents are required to send their kids to school it is not necessary they send them to public schools. They have the option of selecting a private school or homeschooling their children as well.
The main reason these compulsory education laws were put into place was in order to stop child labor practices and to improve the literacy rate of the country. Every child has a right to an education as knowledge opens the doors to opportunity and success.
Massachusetts was the first state to enact a compulsory education law. Parents who failed to send their kids to school could be fined and even have their kids removed from their custody. The current laws for compulsory education allow more exceptions. Parents can homeschool their children if they meet the standard of public and private schools. Also, Amish parents are exempt from the rules of compulsory education after their children reach eight grade. Some states even give work permits which allow students to work during regular school hours.
Now, if a child is truant (missing from school for long periods of time without a valid reason), the school board will send a letter to the parent and if an appropriate response is not shown, legal representatives will be brought into the scenario and the ability of the parent to make decisions for the child will be brought under question.
New changes to the schooling system
Education is an evolving industry and a recent law change in November 2019 showed the United States is determined to continue changing the system to suit the needs of its citizens. In California, a law was passed which pushed school timing down by an hour. This means that most middle and high school students have been getting an extra hour of sleep every day.
The new law was met with some criticism as this change in timing would affect traffic and also affect the schedule of working parents. However, for the most part, sleep experts, and nearly everyone else agreed that this change in timing was necessary and would help students concentrate in classes and encourage them to attend classes as well.
Parents are required to ensure their children are getting a proper education. Thanks to the regulation of compulsory education, more children can attend school as opposed to being forced to work from a young age. Both the government and the legal guardians of each child can work together to ensure the United States has a high literacy rate and that every child is given the opportunity to learn and excel to their best potential.