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Ask the Attorney with John Brower, J.D.

Question: What are the requirements for a child to attend school? How many hours must a school day consist of?


Answer: Michigan, as do all the other states, has a law that requires students of a certain age range to attend school. These laws are generally referred to as Compulsory Education Laws. In Michigan this law is found at MCL 380.1561, which states:

(1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, every parent, guardian, or other person in this state having control and charge of a child from the age of 6 to the child's sixteenth birthday shall send that child to a public school during the entire school year. The child's attendance shall be continuous and consecutive for the school year fixed by the school district in which the child is enrolled. In a school district that maintains school during the entire calendar year and in which the school year is divided into quarters, a child is not required to attend the public school more than 3 quarters in 1 calendar year, but a child shall not be absent for 2 or more consecutive quarters.

(2) A child becoming 6 years of age before December 1 shall be enrolled on the first school day of the school year in which the child's sixth birthday occurs. A child becoming 6 years of age on or after December 1 shall be enrolled on the first school day of the school year following the school year in which the child's sixth birthday occurs. Note: This statute goes on to provide for a number of exceptions for students who are home schooled, live to far away from a school, etc., and a companion statute provides that children who are 5 by December 1st may also attend school, but it is not mandatory.

In terms of instruction, the current Michigan School Aid Act specifies a minimum of 1098 hours of instruction, but I believe that this year the local districts can control the number of “school days” (was a 180 day minimum).

Therefore, all students who are required to attend school must be provided the requisite hours of instructions, unless the student is a special education student and the student’s IEP provides for a reduced school day. If a parent is of the opinion that their local school is not providing the required instruction, they should contact the Michigan Department of Education in Lansing.

Hope this helps your understanding.


John Brower, JD
Education Law Center, PLLC

Education Law Center, PLLC · 810-227-9850 · 

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