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Starting kindergarten: later is better

Monday, September 13, 2010

San Francisco Chronicle

An editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle calls on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign Sen. Simitian’s AB 1381, to require children to be 5 when they begin kindergarten. 

Fourteen studies reviewed by the Public Policy Institute of California in 2008 led it to conclude that the state need to shift its age of entry for kindergarten. Too many 4 1/2-year-olds were struggling in class - and the effects of starting too early reverberated throughout their schooling.

State Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, had seen the studies. Even more compelling was a petition he received from 289 teachers.

A legislator who is known for turning constituent ideas into state laws decided to give the idea yet another try. His SB1381 would require that entering kindergartners must turn 5 by Sept. 1 - instead of the current Dec. 1.

SB1381 went through the state Senate and Assembly by wide margins, and with bipartisan support. It is backed by a broad array of policy experts and education advocates. It is a rare opportunity to improve our schools while saving money at the same time.

The fate of SB1381 now rests with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. He should sign it into law.

View the full story (San Francisco Chronicle)