Editorial: New kindergarten policy is a rare good bill from the legislature

09.08.2010 | Los Angeles Daily News

NOT much good came out of the recently ended state legislative session. But one of the few bright spots was the passage last week of SB 1381, a bill that raises the age that children can start school in California.

The bill by Palo Alto state Sen. Joe Simitian had the rare virtue of both being good policy and saving lots of money for the cash-strapped state government. Requiring children to be at least 5 years old by Sept. 1 to start kindergarten will put California in line with most other states and ensure that kids are truly ready for school. As a bonus, the change will save the state an estimated $700 million by the time it is fully implemented in 2014.

A winner of a bill for sure, but its passage was far from assured. The powerful California Teachers Association initially opposed the bill – not because it was a bad idea, but because the union wanted all the saved money to go to preschool, not just half, as Simitian’s bill recommended. And when the powerful CTA sets its sights on something, the politicians generally listen.

In the end, however, good sense (and money!) won out. It shows that sometimes even politics can’t kill a good idea. Now, it’s up to the governor; we encourage him to sign this bill immediately.

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