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Kindergarten: 4-Year-Olds Need Not Apply

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California's education system is in for a drastic change: A local lawmaker is calling for the state to move the cutoff date for children entering kindergarten. The current cutoff date dictates that children must turn 5 before December 2 in order to start kindergarten. The change would move the cutoff to September 1.
According to the Los Angeles Times, this move would reduce the state's kindergarten population by 100,000. As with most issues in California, the change is aimed at easing the state's huge budget deficit -- and could garner as much as $700 billion each year.

"Both the research and our classroom teachers are telling us that California kids are starting kindergarten too young,'' Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), the author of SB 1381, told the Times. "The net result is, it's not good for them educationally and it's not good for the other kids in the classroom who get a little less attention because the teachers are struggling to deal with those young 4-year-olds.''

Proponents say that the change will benefit students who sometimes need the extra year to advance both socially and academically. Opponents deem the change unfair, as most state-run preschools are inaccessible and childcare costs are continuously on the rise.

The bill goes to the state assembly next for a vote.

Moms, what do you think? Is 4 too young to start kindergarten?

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10 comments so far | Post a comment now
Traci June 3, 2010, 12:37 PM

My son will not be able to enter Kindergarten this coming school year because he turns 5 January 6th but he is READY, more than ready now. I think it should be on a case-by-case basis for 4 year olds who turn 5 during the school year. He’s always going to be older than all his classmates and that may be harder on him than being younger.

Danielle June 3, 2010, 12:43 PM

LOVE IT!!!!!!!!! I think you can never be too young for school…even if they have a parent involvement class for the younger ones. Our children need good education younger. Lucky kids.

Black Iris June 3, 2010, 1:30 PM

It depends what they’re doing in kindergarten. Kindergarten nowadays tends to be more academic. Kids have to be more ready to sit still and write. Although it’s worth noting that moving up the school entry age may give a small boost to standardized test scores a few years down the line.

Anne June 3, 2010, 2:05 PM

I wish the 5 by Sept. 1 date was a national rule - not just a state one. The date is Dec. 1 is our state and I have a daughter with a Nov. 16 birthday. She tested as ready to start kindergarten at 4, but I opted to put her in a “young 5’s” class instead. This year there isn’t a young 5’s option, and so she is in kindergarten with 4, 5, and 6 year olds. The difference is HUGE between all of these students - both boys and girls. Kindergarten is WAY more academic than it was when I was in school. The kids are exhausted at the end of the day and to top it off they are trying to cram all of that into the traditional 1/2 day programs.

I volunteer in the classroom and have seen first had how much time is spent helping and guiding the younger ones that don’t “get it” while the older ones sit and wait for the teacher to return to the lesson.

4 year olds belong in preschool not in kindergarten!

Anonymous June 3, 2010, 4:43 PM

I deem this as unfair. I live in California and have a kindergartener who entered school at the age of 4 and 10 months. She is doing just fine. I really think it’s a case-by-case story. And MOST IMPORTANTLY, without this sb1381 bill, currently parents DO have a choice. They CAN choose to let their children enter school early or delay a year if they feel their children are not ready. So there’s really no need to have a “law”, especially a hard economy time, to keep ALL the younger children from accessing public schools. I really think it’s all about money, definitely not about the benefit of our children. Everyone knows quality childcare/preschool is expensive. And most people will not qualify state preschools. If lawmakers really care about education, why do they keep cutting so many teachers, shutting down schools, and increasing classroom sizes? It is not fair to try to keep ALL the younger children from public schools.

Steph June 4, 2010, 5:10 AM

My state (Maryland) already has the Sept. 1 date for entering kindergarten. Fortunately though my county allows a parent to request an exemption for a child who turns 5 by October 15. It involves an evaluation, recommendations from a preschool, etc.

This allowed my October 12 bday son to start kindergarten “early”. I was a little worried about it, all the things you hear about boys not being ready. But he’s done wonderfully. I contribute a lot of that though to his preschool who gave him a great foundation.

Vivian June 4, 2010, 8:56 AM

NOOOOO! My son started K at 4 and did just fine. People should be able to choose whether or not to redshirt their kid.

john  June 4, 2010, 3:21 PM

My wife is an all day kindergarten teacher in a low income predominately minority school, she has students who started this school year at 4 years of age, they are now reading, writing and are able to do simple math. Many come from difficult home lives, parents in jail, ECT. To delay the start of education for these children may be in the best interest of politicians, but as a society we will pay the price down the line. If you compare what children are taught in preschool to what is taught in kindergarten in 2010 you are not informed as to what these children are learning. The wealthy will not be affected by this change, as they have their children in private schools, at a cost of 25 to 30 thousand a year. By the way, how is 700 million being saved, could it be the 4 to 5 thousand teaching positions that will be eliminated? If the United States continues with the destruction of our education system then we deserve what we get 2o years from now when we will be paying the price for not properly educating our children.

Anonymous June 4, 2010, 10:52 PM


Anonymous June 5, 2010, 6:47 AM

It’s better than even hundred billion dollars else where. Smarter, more educated people = better, more confident people.

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