By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – To increase our academic standing among industrialized nations and prepare students for 21st century jobs, many plans have been put forward to extend time for teaching and learning.

While districts have made independent changes on hours spent in a school day, because states are responsible for providing children with an education, many have decided to extend the upper and lower limits of their compulsory education requirements.

An article in Education Week says we are left with a patchwork of state laws mandating ages students must attend school for as little as nine years, and as many as 14 depending in which state they live.

In twenty-four states and DC you must attend until age 18; 11 states put the age at 17 and 15 set compulsory-attendance age at 16. In many states the lower age limit for providing free education is 5 and in PA and Washington state it’s 8.

With the new research, it would be good to set it to 3, as in Massachusetts.

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