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Phila. SRC to vote on lower mandatory age to enter school

Inquirer staff writer Kristen A. Graham reports:

Philadelphia's School Reform Commission is expected to formally adopt a policy requiring all city childen to enter school by age 6. The commission meets later today.

Previously, state law said children did not have to be enrolled in school until the age of 8. But earlier this year, legislation pushed by Rep. James Roebuck (D., Philadelphia) lowered for children living in Philadelphia.

In years past, as many as 700 children started school at age 7 or 8, district officials said. This year, about 100 7- and 8-year-olds started with no previous educational experience.

A new policy will bring the district into compliance with the law.

The commission is also expected to hear a presentation on discipline since a zero-tolerance policy was clarified for parents and students earlier this school year. Superintendent Arlene Ackerman has said that the district's most violent students will be expelled, a sharp about-face in policy from years past, when they were simply transferred to alternative schools.

Also on the agenda for the commission's consideration is the expulsion of the first district student in four years. The student brought a gun to school, Ackerman has said.

A new policy expected to be adopted by the commission would clarify that expelled students will not be sent to the streets, but educated in district alternative schools.

The meeting begins at 2 p.m. and will be held in the second-floor auditorium, 440 N. Broad St.

Contact staff writer Kristen Graham at 215-854-5146 or

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