I came across a post on Facebook in regard to a new proposed bill to change the eligibility date for children to start kindergarten.
The post read:
“Yes!!! Maturity and readiness make SUCH a huge difference in Kindergarten. If you don’t support this bill, clearly you’re not a Kindergarten teacher, therefore your opinion doesn’t really matter to me on this topic.”
and linked to this article
I was in shock to see this post for two reasons:
- Since I’m not a Kindergarten teacher my opinion does not matter [this is America]
- As a child who went to school at 4 and thrived, I feel this a terrible idea and there just has to be a better way to judge a child’s readiness and maturity.
I researched the Bill – House Bill 100 – which will change the cut-off date from September 1 of the school year. If passed, for the 2015-16 year, children would need to be 5 by August 1 and then for subsequent years, they would have to be 5 by June 30.
I was born in November. In New York, I believe that the cut-off was Dec 1 so I started Kindergarten 3 or 4 months shy of being 5 years old. Many of my friends growing up there had Sept-Nov birthdays, and we all did fine. In fact, most of us now have great jobs and are productive members of society. I was more than ready to start school at the age of 4. I was grateful to have a lot of knowledge coming into Kindergarten due to great parents and family members.
I thrived in school, I was no more or less mature than other kids that age. I fit right in, and didn’t require extra attention caused by the so called lack of maturity. I understand that all children are different, and that may not be the norm. So can be said of kids that are 5 and still lack that maturity. An arbitrary date isn’t going to solve this.
I wish I could post the whole thread, but I can’t…for many reasons. Here are some excepts.
Comment: “People who want to have a voice and dictate what goes on schools and how teachers teach yet they have zero teaching experience, have no standing with me. Until you see and experience what I deal with day in and day out 5 days a week, 6:30 AM to god knows when… No, I’m sorry, you really don’t have a true picture of what life is like as a teacher today. “
–People who oppose the bill are not claiming to want to dictate how teachers teach or what goes on in schools, This bill is a double edged sword and isn’t going to change the underlying problem. Most likely, the problem of the kids who are underachieving at this age is because the parents are not taking active roles in their child’s education. This will not resolve by changing a date and is only going to hurt the children that are ready to start their education. What about them?
Comment: “…If a child is truly that gifted at 4, there are much better alternatives than public school.”
-This is pretty crazy. So basically, if you have a gifted child – or not even gifted, just a child ready for school at 4, parents should jump thru hoops and pay all kinds of money for a private school? That makes zero sense. I get that there are magnet programs in the area, but the logistics are often not convenient for the child or parents…and that’s if you are even lucky to live in an area with that option. What if a child lives in an area where there aren’t these programs, or even Honors/AP classes? I guess the parents should move?
Comment: “…unless as the old saying goes unless you walk in that persons shoes and does what that person does everyday in their job then you need to STOP.There is always going to an exception to the rule! …Again until you walk in someone’s else’s job shoes sit down please!!!! “
-As the child that would have been affected by something like this, I feel like my view point is [somewhat] valid. I’m not saying it’s right, but it is my view. I would have been SO BORED if I had started school later.
I obviously don’t have the answers and don’t claim to. All I’m saying is that it’s crazy to think that issues with kids falling behind are going to be solved by a date. I think sure, some kids fall into this date gap, but it’s purely a child-by-child basis. It’s only going to solve a small part of the bigger issue and set back kids that are truly ready to go to school. Saying the kid born on June 29 is not ready but the kid born on June 30 is, is absolutely ridiculous! I will be writing my lawmakers my [uneducated] opinion surrounding this issue and hope that others will too, regardless of which side of the fence they are on.