Save the Budget: Abolish Kindergarten

Corinne Mulhern

As they look for ways to cut the budget, Gov. Jerry Brown -- like his predecessor Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger -- have focused on a very, very, very serious problem:

All those kids who are starting kindergarten.

Why do there have to be so many of them anyway?

Some might answer that question by saying: there are always a lot of 5 year olds. It's the birth rate and all. And you need to start educating kids at that age.

But Brown and Schwarzenegger, who are no pushovers, didn't accept those flimsy explanations. They worked with the legislature to do something about this terrible scourge.

And so Gov. Schwarzenegger and lawmakers saved money by requiring younger children to wait before entering kindergarten.

It used to be that anyone who turned 5 by December 1 could start kindergarten that same fall, but now that date is being moved up, over three years, by three months.

This doesn't keep anyone out of kindergarten, but it slows entry and reduces kindergarten numbers -- thus savings the state money.

And that's what's important, isn't it?

Now, Schwarzenegger, who was a bit of a soft touch, left a loophole. He urged the creation of something called transitional kindergarten for kids who might once have been old enough for kindergarten but won't be under the new rules.

These kids wouldn't have access to other pre-K options. Parents and schools began to plan for this.

But Gov. Brown, showing real courage, is refusing to go along with this sop to the kindergarten special interests.

He wants to defund transitional kindergarten as well. And good for him -- batten down that hatch that Arnold wouldn't close.

This will save the state money. But c'mon, Gov. Brown, is that the best you can do?

This won't do much to stop the flow of California children into kindergarten. No, there's only one way to do that -- and that is to get rid of kindergarten itself.

Those kids are tax eaters, and we can't afford them. Thier parents will work out something. There will still be plenty of time to catch up in first grade.

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