Friday, July 2, 2010

Lobbying in Sacramento

 That's me in the back row to the right of State Senator Simitian, 
the author of Senate Bill 1381.

I joined a group of about 30 kindergarten teachers from around California to advocate for changing the minimum age for starting kindergarten. Right now, California is one of only 4 states that allows four year-old children to attend kindergarten.

For at least 20 years, the California Kindergarten Association (also known as CKA, of which I am a member) has been trying to change California State Education law so that a child must be 5 years old by September 1 to start kindergarten.

Raising the entry age for kindergarten students makes a lot of sense. Over these two decades the kindergarten curriculum has come to resemble the first grade curriculum of yore. Most four year old children are too young to benefit from such "academic" instruction required by the state standards of our era.

Even though you'd think that changing the entrance age for kindergarten would be a "no-brainer," we have not been able to bring California into line with the rest of the country.

This year, however, it appears that—for the first time—we might be able to get something on the Governor's desk.

I carpooled over to Sacramento Wednesday, June 30 to support SB 1381 in the Assembly Education Committee's hearing of the bill. We were successful. The Senate Bill received unanimous support in the Assembly, a minor feat these days.

There are, of course, still many hoops yet to negotiate. Given the state of California politics, even the most sensible bills can fail to become law. This time, I'm hopeful.

I have my fingers crossed.

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