Ala. governor signs law lowering school age to 6

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The governor has signed legislation that requires Alabama children to begin attending school or be home schooled at 6 years old.

The mandatory school attendance age had been 7. The new law allows children to still begin school at 7 if their parents make a request in writing to their local school officials.

The bill's sponsors, Democratic Sen. Priscilla Dunn of Bessemer and Republican Rep. John Merrill of Tuscaloosa, said children who start at 7 are often far behind their contemporaries, and the new law will make sure all children have the same chance for academic success.

Merrill said a statewide survey of schools found about 50 students start at 7 each year.

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