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Calif. bill would change kindergarten age cutoff

09.07.2010 | KPCC | Adolfo Guzman-Lopez

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

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger played a “kindergarten cop” on film. With the stroke of a pen, he could significantly change who attends kindergarten in California.

The state legislature’s passed a bill by Northern California Senator Joe Simitian that would move the kindergarten cutoff age from December 2nd to September 1st, as it is in many other states.

The issue’s a big deal for parents of kids who turn five years old around that time. Many of these parents decide to hold back their kids because they feel they’re at a developmental disadvantage in a class with kids several months or almost a year older than theirs.

Research does suggest that among other factors, starting kindergarten later in a child’s fifth year may help his or her academic career.

Some parents feel that their younger kids are up to the challenge. The bill would create a transitional kindergarten for kids who don’t make the age cutoff.

On his website, Simitian’s first argument in favor of his bill is that it would save the state government about $700 million a year because public schools would serve significantly fewer kindergarteners. The governor has until the end of the month to sign or veto the bill.

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