Patt Morrison for September 7, 2010

The great kindergarten cutoff debate: pending bill requires kindergartners hit 5 by Sept. 1st

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Mark Wilson/Getty Images

A bill that would make the kindergarten cutoff birthday September 1st is ready for Governor Schwarzenegger's signature

It’s a tough decision that confronts almost every parent of a child born between the months of August and December—is my child, who has either just turned 5 or is about to turn 5, ready for kindergarten? It would seem like a minor problem and yet states across the country have passed legislation that delays the start of kindergarten for these cutoff kids, since research shows that a few extra months of cognitive development could make huge differences in the academic abilities of children. A bill is currently sitting on the Governor’s desk that would require California children entering kindergarten turn 5 by September 1st rather than the original cutoff of December 2nd. SB 1381, approved by the legislature last week, would also provide a year of transitional kindergarten for children with Fall birthdays. As kindergarten becomes more academically rigorous, could a few extra months of preparation for first grade help boost test scores and improve the classroom performances of California’s young students?

Guest:

John Eberly, member, Board of Directors for the California Kindergarten Association and faculty member in the Child Development Department at Santa Rosa Junior College


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