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Lawmakers vote to raise kindergarten age

The earliest age at which California children could start kindergarten would go up three months under a measure passed by the state Senate on Wednesday. Youngsters would have to turn 5 by Sept. 1 under the proposal, which would reduce the state’s kindergarten population by 100,000.

The state would save big money by booting all those kids out of kindergarten. But proponents of the legislation say half of the $700 million to be saved would go to helping those same children through expanded public preschool programs. The rest would go toward closing the state deficit.

"Both the research and our classroom teachers are telling us that California kids are starting kindergarten too young,’’ said Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), the author of SB 1381. "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.’’

The measure, which next goes to the state Assembly, passed on a 28-4 vote after it was opposed by the California Teachers Assn. "The current state preschool program is not accessible to all children and we do not believe it is appropriate to displace students without access to preschool," the teachers group said in a written protest.

Some parent groups, however, support the age change.

-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento
Comments () | Archives (54)

California just has no problem in making kids dumber and dumber. Instead of addressing all of these illegal immigrants dropping 10 kids on U.S. Soil they pass laws stopping American kids from going to school to deal with over crowding? Sad. Pathetic.

Lawmakers are just passing on the cost to taxpayers. One more year for parents to pay for pre-school.

I started first grade when I was five years, five months, and it certainly did me no harm. And I hadn't been through kindergarten. This was in England, however, where children are not so coddled.

Uh, yeah, they save that money for one year only. A quick, short-sighted non-fix to the fiscal problems of the state, and a horrible way to pass costs onto struggling families. A bandaid on a gushing wound..........

If illegals and their anchor kids are removed that would save BILLIONS

This would also raise academic levels, right now I must pay a lot to avoid my local public school filled with 'English learners'

GO Arizona law, in all 50 states please!

Regarding Abby Normal's comment, it will save money every year because there will be a smaller kindergarten population, meaning fewer teachers, classrooms, supplies, etc. That said, still not sure it's the best option. Just print more money!

First, higher and higher taxes, then failing schools, and now forcing kids to start late in getting an education. My granddaughter lives in Baltimore, she just turned 5 in February, but she has been enrolled in a private school kindergarten course since last October, and she already knew most of what they are teaching. A course, which incidentally includes learning to write, and would you believe--fractions. So I don't buy the argument that 4 year olds are struggling to learn the stuff that's being taught in California public schools. If anything, they are bored because they're not being challenged.

All I can say is, America, pack your bags and get up out of California, which is fast becoming an extension of Mexico. For all those from Mexico who keep harping on how California used to be a part of Mexico--which BTW, you can't wait to get out of--at the rate our lawmakers are going, very soon you'll have your wish. California will be as poor and impoverished as most of Mexico. I guess then you'll move to claim Nevada.

There's even more money to be saved by botting the ILLEGAL ALIEN CHILDREN out of kindergarten.

This resolution is absolutely zero about improving education for younger children and everything about saving money. How disingenuous of the authors of this bill to make it about education.

The preschool programs they cite are only for kids in poor families and most families don't qualify. The rest of us will have to pay for an extra year of preschool.

What's truly shameful is that the state will still have to pay for 13 years of public schooling anyway for a child who passes completely through the system. The state is just delaying it.

Boys seem to do better by starting later than girls.

I pay monthly for my son to go to a private pre-school...so does that mean the state will pick up the tab for the extra year I will have to pay for him to be in school? It may save the state money, but it won't put any additional money in the pockets of the parents who pay for pre-school. Why do they keep targeting the education system during the budget crisis?? The children are not to blame. I'm sure their are other avenues...

Stop the pork in LAUSD and stop letting tax payers money go to illegals and put the money towards teaching the children that are our citizens. Their parents are working hard to pay their taxes, the children should not be shortchanged.

So my american daughter gets the shaft because illegals have overpopulated the schools sytem, great.

Abby What about the struggling taxpayers who are picking up the tab for the 50% that pay no real tax?

As mentioned, this is a one-year deal. To be useful, why they don't past a law saying there is no free primary education for kids born between Sept 1 and Dec 1?

This is not an illegal immigration issue. This is about saving lawmakers money and forcing taxpayers to pay more. They have already taken from our schools with all the budget cuts, do they really need to do this? We send babies to war. To fight for our country. To protect our country. To die for our country. Why can't we educate our babies?

Other states have been doing this for years, and they still rank ahead of us in academics.

I say it's a good plan.

Yes, This will give our younger children a step ahead of their education. Kindergarden is just the right age to understand the basics. Bill Gates said a year ago that too start our next generation of leaders we need to get them in simple issues and build from there. Teach them math and science at a early age.
Other cities should do the same.

I teach in another state where the cutoff is September 1. It does make a difference in the classroom if students are older when they begin kindergarten. We do allow early entry to those kids that can show a higher abilty level, but typically they still struggle in the classroom. They are not mature enough to sit still and handle the emotional aspects of getting along with their peers. The younger ones do take extra time to manage. From my experience in the classroom it's beneficial for the child to be five before beginning formal schooling. Kindergarten should not be used as a daycare for young children.

This is already the norm in North Carolina...no harm, no foul.

Good decision. My child is 5 right now and he definitely isn't ready for Kindergarten. The decision saves money for the state and makes sense.

The Dem legislators are completely in the pocket of the gov't labor unions, including teachers.

Rather than cut #'s of administrators, administrator pay, bloated staff's of school maintenance & security, fat contracts for bad food or teacher pensions they'll cut...education of 5 year old's.

The conflict is special interests like gov't labor unions legally working the system with campaign contributions (bribes) to get more money from taxpayers. The correction is to bust these unions and their members pay down to the private sector level or lower, in the interest of most taxpayers & CA solvency. I'm not sure democracy is up to it, but I hope so, before the CA fiscal roof caves in.

What is this? At best, this is a one-year savings. Its ridiculous!

Whether it saves some money or not (and I agree this is only going to make a difference in the number of kindergarteners for a single year), I think this is a good decision. Children really do need to mature a bit more before they start kindergarten. I held my Dec. 1 son a year (making him 5 years and 9 months when he started kindergarten), which was the best thing I could have done for him. I suspect my Nov. 1 sister (who started at 4 years 10 months) would have done better waiting a year to start kindergarten, but it wasn't done in those days. If you were old enough according to the rules, you went.

Illegals pay taxes too! Let's admit that we benefit from illegal laborers, from the farmlands to five star hotels around the country. Some illegals work with fake social security numbers that the Social Security Administration levies taxes on. Next time you go to the supermarket, pretend you are an illegal and tell the cashier that you won't be paying taxes because you are in the states illegally.

This new law goes against the principals that the first of years of life, up to seven, are the most important for a child cognitive delopment! The end result will be saving $700 million, but in the long-run our kids will suffer the consequences. How, by entering colleges with elementary math, reading and writing levels. WHAT A SHAME!

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