Bill would start compulsory education at the age of 5

It is one thing to throw other people’s money at a feel-good, but senseless and futile gesture. It is entirely another to spend money on something that may actually do more harm than good.

North Las Vegas Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz has introduced a bill that would lower the mandatory school age from 7 to 5 and require schools to create prekindergarten education programs for children as young as 4. It is Assembly Bill 186. The fiscal note says this will cost $352 million in the next biennium and $420 million over the next two years.

Diaz claims this will benefit children.

But the federal Head Start program has been around since 1965 and costs $8 billion a year and continues, despite the fact a massive federal study found it has no lasting educational impact.

“In summary, there were initial positive impacts from having access to Head Start, but by the end of 3rd grade there were very few impacts found for either cohort in any of the four domains of cognitive, social-emotional, health and parenting practices. The few impacts that were found did not show a clear pattern of favorable or unfavorable impacts for children,” reported the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation in 2012.

Worse, a study by Stanford and Berkeley universities in 2005 found that early education programs can be harmful. “The biggest eye-opener is that the suppression of social and emotional development, stemming from long hours in preschool, is felt most strongly by children from better-off families,” said UC Berkeley sociologist and co-author Bruce Fuller in a press release.

The study found that the earlier a child enters a preschool center, the slower his or her pace of social development. It also noted that prekindergarten education actually “hinders social development and created poor social behavior, such as bullying and aggression, and a lack of motivation to take part in classroom activities.”

Some things look like a good idea but don’t turn out to be so.

We may also recall that the Nevada since 1990 has spent close to $2.5 billion on class-size reduction in the early grades with nothing to show for it. A 2001 report by the Nevada Legislative Counsel Bureau found that achievement data did not produce results. Students in larger classes outperformed those in the smaller classes.

Over the past four decades, according to a Cato Institute analysis, Nevada has increased K-12 public school funding by 80 percent per pupil, adjusted for inflation. During those four decades student test scores have actually fallen slightly.

A number of people testifying against AB186 Wednesday afternoon suggested the state is taking away too many parental rights.




7 comments on “Bill would start compulsory education at the age of 5

  1. iShrug says:

    This is more about subsidized daycare for low income people, and getting little girls used to finding boys in the bathroom.

  2. deleted says:

    I wonder how many parents, with lots of means, send their kids to school before it becomes mandatory?

    I’m thinking, ALOT.

    If it’s available for them, it ought to be available for everyone, and the wealthiest ought to pay for it. Fair is fair after all.

  3. Rich people own private jets. I want a private jet and rich people should pay for it.

  4. Bill says:

    Like so many other things, there has been mission creep in education. It can be traced to the onset of the concept of “compulsory education” and education as a governmental monopoly. Few would argue that the state has an interest in insuring that its populous has the necessary tools to function, i.e., ability to read, write and do simple math. Taxpayer money is no object. Witness the spectacle of a broke Washoe County Board authorizing millions of dollars to construct 22 classrooms at a school that doesn’t need them and for which the District does not have tghe money to staff those 22 classrooms with teachers once they are built. So, what if the education system is failing. Another couple of hundred million dollars to educate 5 year olds seems just the thing we need right now. I am sure that the legislator will be assured of monetary support by the education establishment since she is “pro” education. Never mind that it is, at least for now, a dumb idea.

  5. Anonymous says:


    To each his own, but I wouldn’t go that far.

    There is something to be said for incentivizing people.

  6. The progressives want another year to indoctrinate their captive audience. Please keep that pen handy Governor Sandoval. And while you’re at it…a nudge to revive and fund the ESA’s would be very much appreciated!

  7. Rincon says:

    If the bill simply lowers the mandatory schooling age from 7 to 5, but does not eliminate home schooling, then is it not true that parents have the right to keep their kids out of school either way?

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