PITTSBURGH, May 14, 2019 — Today, Senator Lindsey M. Williams announced the introduction of Senate Bill 642, which will amend the Public School Code to lower the compulsory enrollment age from eight to six. This bill will also raise the drop out age from seventeen to eighteen.
“Right now, Pennsylvania is one of only two states that allow parents to wait until a child is eight years old to enroll them in school,” said Senator Williams. “Research tells us that beginning formal schooling at an earlier age improves children’s language and literacy skills, bolsters student achievement, and enhances social and emotional skills. Lowering the compulsory school age will ensure that all students are getting these benefits.”
In addition to lowering the compulsory age of enrollment, SB 642 also raises the age of drop out from seventeen to eighteen. The change will not affect students who have already graduated or received their GED.
“So many of today’s jobs require some sort of advanced education, whether that be a post-secondary degree or career training,” Senator Williams explained. “But without a high school diploma, our students can’t enroll in that training. Raising the drop out age to eighteen will encourage students to stay in school and earn their high school degree, which will open the doors to a better financial future.”
Senate Bill 642 is being introduced in accordance with Governor Wolf’s Statewide Workforce, Education, and Accountability Program (SWEAP) Proposal. The Bill has also received unanimous support from the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.