For now, California kids don’t have to start their formal education until age 6, meaning kids could skip kindergarten and begin school in first grade.
But, currently there’s a bill pending in the Senate mandating that California children attend kindergarten.
The bill has passed in the Assembly. Research points to low-income family kids suffering for not attending kindergarten, especially with the accelerated academic expectations of kids these days. Research also points to kindergarten having little impact on middle to upper class kids.
Does it make sense to mandate five year olds attend school? Does it infringe on the current parental right to choose? Do the benefits of serving all children outweigh that possible infringement? Is it worth it for California to spend the hundreds of millions of dollars necessary in order to build out the infrastructure needed to support mandatory kindergarten?
Gib Hentshke, emeritus dean and professor at the Rossier School of Education at USC
Lisa Snell, Director of Education at The Reason Foundation