Thursday, September 2, 2010

SFGate: Bill raising age limit for kindergarten passes

This from SFGate:

The California Legislature approved a bill Tuesday that will require children to reach their fifth birthday by Sept. 1 to enroll in kindergarten.

The passage came on the last night for lawmakers to pass bills to send to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The governor has until Sept. 30 to act on the bills.


  1. There are two very important things to note about this bill - (1) some of the potential savings is going to be used to fund transitional K year for those kids that would have been eligible for K and (2) we are one of 3 states that has a K cutoff as late as December - most states are Aug, Sept or October - with a few districts or counties that are able to adjust. So I think this is an important bill to support!

  2. I have such mixed feelings about this bill. I personally hope the Gov will veto it. I had two kids, both with birthdays that would have cut them off now. One was definitely not ready for K and we held him back. One was definitely ready for K and we put him in. Why is the state taking away what really should be a parent decision? I do know that there are a few parents who put Fall kids into K when they probably shouldn't. But we are now going to have the flipside problem. We are going to have kids, like one of my sons, who is kept out even though he shows every indication of being ready. If this passes, all I can say is that I'm glad my kids are past K.

  3. 1:29--

    The state is already (currently) making this decision with the December cutoff. The new cutoff would simply acknowledge the reality of how much more academic the K year has become, and how many more parents are red-shirting. A real change would be to impose an upper limit so that classes are all within 15 or whatever months of each other instead of the 2 years we sometimes see now.

  4. Read the bill. Parents can ask for exceptions.

  5. The developmental benefits of this change are well founded. One result is likely to be an increase in state test results by 2nd grade.

  6. I think it is great that the state is putting in place an earlier age limit.
    For those of you anxious to put your child in kinder after a Sept. birthdate......
    volunteer at a local school kinder class- the proof is in the pudding. Look at the kids sitting STILL on the carpet or who have the many stars by their name. Best guess is that they are ready for school and are probably older. And the kids, having issues (wetting pants/ poor fine motor skills) are probably younger.
    Then you can really decide if your child will be successful with the new age limit.

  7. I don't think that this change will necessarily lead to higher test scores: the funding for transitional K will not provide adequate to make it available to all students, and attendance would not be mandatory anyway.

    Moreover, if children aren't getting preschool, they probably are missing out on the developmental experiences that we associate with age. I think that preschool availability has a bigger influence on test scores now, and universal preschool would be the greatest boon to student achievement.

    I also feel that this bill requires that we accept the state Kindergarten standards (or the new Common Core standards, which I think are a little better) as appropriate for most/all children who are five years old. I don't know that that is true. Certainly, most children can master the standards, but I strongly suspect that there is a cost to that mastery: long-term school engagement and social-emotional development.

  8. Still, it is more realistic to have those expectations of five year olds than to have those same expectations of some four year olds, as is the case right now, no?

  9. Sorry, this whole things sucks. They should put an upper age limit too. They should just test for readyness and adjust from there. But really there shouldn't be a more than 15 month spread in the class. Kids in the grey area, whatever the age cutoff, test to get get in. Example with a Sept 1st, cutoff, test from July to November. Anyone born from December 1st on would have to go to Kinder or if not, 1st grade the next year.

    I know someone who is redshirting their july born son. So he'll be six when he starts kindergarten. I think its ridiculous, if needed repeat kindergarten, but why hold him back now?

    My son is now in fist and at his private school they tested for K entrance and the youngest was four (2 turned five in May, at the end of the year) while the oldest was six ( 2 November birthday). It was a huge spread in age. The four year old was one of the brightest in the class while one of the November birthday's barely made it through. But socially, the four year olds were very young while one of the Novembers (not the one that barely made it) was very mature. At this age, six months makes a world of difference, never mind 18 months.