State House looks to mandate schooling by age 6

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OLYMPIA — Washington lawmakers are looking to require kids to start formal schooling by age 6.

The state House approved a plan Friday that would lower the mandatory school age from 8. Washington is one of only two states with that current age threshold, with most requiring education by age 6.

Democratic Rep. Marcie Maxwell of Renton says society has changed since the law was set more than 100 years ago and that the new bill reflects the importance of education in the state.

Republican Rep. Jason Overstreet of Lynden opposed the measure, saying he expects the age will be pushed lower and lower in the coming years. He opposed the bill's requirement that home-schooling families would have to sign a declaration describing their intentions to not utilize public schools.

The bill passed 75-22 and now goes to the state Senate.