At what age should children begin school? Just a fewdecades ago the question was relevant to debates aboutcompulsory education laws. But over time, compulsoryeducation laws for school entry have become more symbolicthan coercive. Today, even though school is not usuallycompulsory until the age of six (20 states) or seven (22 states), most children enter school when they are five yearsold.Now the common question for policy makers concernsthe specific age at which children should be allowed to enterkindergarten. Since compulsory education laws do not applyuntil at least a year after the age of eligibility, the dilemmafor parents is whether to send their children to kindergartenas soon as they are eligible. The focus for both policy makersand parents is on determining when children are ready forschool. Not discussed in this report, although perhaps a betterquestion, is how do we make schools ready for children.