Dr. Shelia Pirkle
February 10th, 2008
Compulsory education is education which children are required by law to receive and governments are required to provide. The compulsion is an aspect of public education. In some places home schooling may be a legal alternative to attending school. (Compulsory Education, 2009) Plato’s Republic popularized the notion of compulsory education in the Western acedemic deliberation. The Aztec’s had one of the first compulsory education systems. They believed all male children should be required to attend school until they were 16 years of age. Most countries now have compulsory education through out primary and often extending into secondary education. Modern compulsory attendance laws were first enacted in Massachusetts in 1853 follwed by New York in 1854. By 1918, all states had compulsory attendance laws. (Encyclopedia of Everyday Law) Compulsory education at the primary level was affirmed as a human right in the1948 Universal Decleration of Human Rights. (Compulsory Education, 2009) Every state requires children to be enrolled in school by a certain age. More than half of the states require that students be enrolled by the age of six, the rest require enrollment between the ages five to eight. Most states require children to stay in school until they are sixteen years of age, other states seventeen to eighteen years of age. These age requirements are very controversial. Many early childhood experts argue that if policy makers establish early cut off dates for kindergarten, they should also establish aggressive school readiness programs to ensure students’ success. Others argue that because there has been an increased emphasis on early childhood development and school rediness, we should continue to challenge at a younger age. (Education Program, 2009) Today there are penalties for non-compliance with these requirements. Truency is now a misdemeanor in...