A bill that would make kindergarten mandatory in Louisiana receives approval from a second committee in the Louisiana Senate. The Senate Finance Committee advanced the measure today to the floor of the upper chamber, despite concerns from former state representative Woody Jenkins who says it’s better for young children to be at home.

“And give the time with their parents at this very tender ages, so that the values of the parents are transmitted to the child and we are not prematurely taking them out of the home and putting them into an institutional setting,” said Jenkins.

But Baton Rouge Senator Regina Barrow says studies show a child is better off when they are in an educational environment early in life.

“The earlier we start with the brain development. the better off and the more productive that child would be,” said Barrow.

Louisiana law says children between the ages of 7 and 18-years-old are required to attend school unless they graduate early from high school. The proposal heading to the Senate would require children who turn five by September 30th to attend kindergarten starting with the 2022-23 school year.

Turkey Creek Senator Heather Cloud also raised concerns about parents having to go to jail if they decide not to send their children to kindergarten.

“Those parents who choose to keep their kids at home and teach them at home or however they want to do it, they can’t go to prison for doing so,” said Cloud.

Cloud offered an amendment to do away with the proposed penalty of up to 30 days in prison and or a 250-dollar fine against a person for not sending a child to kindergarten, but the amendment failed.

More discussion on the mandatory kindergarten legislation will take place on the Senate floor. The measure has also received approval from the Senate Education Committee.

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