Wash. House looks to mandate schooling by age 6

Wash. House looks to mandate schooling by age 6
In this photo taken Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, Christopher Larry, Jr., right, reacts to winning a letter bingo game as Joel McCain looks on in their kindergarten classroom at Campbell Hill Elementary in Renton, Wash. Washington is one of two states (the other being Pennsylvania) that doesn't require kids to start their educations until age 8. A bill in the House would lower the mandatory age to 6, but would exempt home-schoolers, who wouldn't fall under the state's instructional supervision until age 8. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — 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.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.