Indiana Legislators Focus on Early Childhood Education

All four state legislative leaders say an increased emphasis on providing early childhood education will be a key focus of the upcoming session.

pre-k students at Busy Bees Academy

Photo: Elle Moxley/StateImpact Indiana

Students play an alligator game with their teacher at Busy Bees Academy, a public preschool in Columbus, Ind.

Under Indiana law, Hoosier kids don’t have to attend school until they’re seven years old. That’s one of the latest mandatory school ages in the country. Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane says he was surprised to learn that the age had never been lowered:

“By the time kids reach the age of seven, there’s so much development that should have occurred already. It’s crucial that we get the mandatory start age down,” Lanane says.

But House Speaker Brian Bosma says enacting legislation to lower the school start age likely isn’t necessary:

“We have some 96 percent of our kindergarten-aged children now with access to a full day kindergarten program and taking advantage of it. So by making the opportunities available, that question has almost solved itself,” Bosma says.

Bosma says the same principle applies to preschool – by making quality preschool options available and affordable for Hoosier families, more children will take advantage of the programs.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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