Parents of kids who aren't eligible when the new cut-off date goes into effect for kindergarten may have to face an added year of childcare.
Change usually means a time of adjustment and in the case of delaying kindergarten it could cost parents and school districts money. Right now SB 1381 moves up the cutoff date for children enrolling in kindergarten. It's awaiting Governor Schwarzenegger's signature.
The bill requires that a child turn 5 by Sept. 1 instead of Dec. 2 which is what it is now. The trend seems to be going that away especially among educated, middle -class parents who are already delaying the start of kindergarten for their kids says Valerie Ramey, UC San Diego economics Professor. Studies show that those kids seem to learn better.
A good explanation of the change is in the San Jose Mercury News. But it leaves parents with something to think about including child care. Since the cutoff date is being moved up, those children who ordinarily would have turned 5 by December 2nd will be too young to make the new cutoff dates. They'll have to wait another year and that means perhaps another year of childcare before they are eligible for kindergarten.
The change will be gradually phased in over three years. In 2012 , a child must be 5 years old by Nov 1. In 2013, the cutoff date is Oct 1 and finally in 2014 a child needs to be 5 by Sept. 1.
And there's another issue that's being debated. The money saved by having fewer children eligible to enroll in school is supposed to be poured into a "junior kindergarten" for those transition kids who don't qualify. But cash-strapped districts are wondering whether that's enough to pay for the new teachers and room and supplies needed for these junior kindergartens.
Ramey conducted a study that I wrote about in PropZero called the "Rugrat Race" which found that more and more college-educated women were taking time off or quiting their jobs to devote to raising their children to be college-competitive.
In other words parents are taking a pro-active approach to their child's education earlier and earlier. Although the Sept. 1 cutoff dates is nothing new (28 other states do the same) it's just a heads-up and something to think about for parents with pre-school kids.