New California Law Creates New Grade Level

Here in my home state of California severe education cutbacks have become a sad but regular part of public school life. So you can imagine my surprise when I read that we here in California were actually getting something new in our schools. We are getting a new grade level thanks to the new state law, the Kindergarten Readiness Act, which will gradually move the birthday cutoff date for new kindergartners from December to September. The Kindergarten Readiness Act will also require districts — beginning next year — to offer a new grade level for children with fall birthdays who are too young to start kindergarten. According to researchers and advocates transitional kindergarten, as it’s called, will help better prepare children to be successful in school.

“It’s one of those little bright lights in an otherwise dark scene,” said Stanford University education professor Deborah Stipek, an expert on early education.

Not all children will have access to this two-year program. Only children with birthdays between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2 — those who would have been eligible for kindergarten under the old system — will be guaranteed a slot once the program is fully implemented in 2014. This coming fall, when the kindergarten entry date becomes Nov. 1, school districts must offer the new program to children who turn 5 between Nov. 2 and Dec. 2.

A number of districts have already been doing pilot programs across the state with happy parents as a result.

Many parents have faced the question as to whether their child is ready for kindergarten and this, in my opinion, will help tremendously those kids who are not ready for kindergarten but too old to remain in preschool or at home. The children who benefit from this program will go on the have an easier time throughout elementary school, than junior high and eventually high school dramatically increasing their chances of attending colleges.

Its laws like could have such far-reaching effects and benefits that they are almost immeasurable.

As a parent and a Californian I have to say kudos to California for finally putting some money towards something that matters and finally giving our education system something to celebrate!

What do you think of this new law?