January 22, 2008

East Tennessee > TN Considers Changing Age for Starting School

Associated Press - Cutoff date for kindergarteners under review:

State lawmakers are evaluating a proposal to change the cutoff date for children to be eligible for kindergarten. The proposal would require children to be 5 years old before Sept. 1 to qualify for kindergarten, up from the current Sept. 30 cutoff.

Katie was born September 23, so this would affect her. I've said before I thought that starting first grade at age six seems way too late, and this would make her almost seven before first grade. That's much longer than we want to wait for Katie to start school.

The founding fathers were wise enough to keep the government out of religion, but not wise enough to keep the government out of education.

Posted by lesjones | TrackBack


I hope this passes. My son's birthday is Sept. 1 and he will be five this year so this highly effects us. I am debating whether he should start Kindergarten this year or not, I am not certain he is ready but still unsure. This law would make my decision for me.

Posted by: Jennifer at January 23, 2008

Well, my son was five when he started, he will be six in April, and frankly, I wish we would have waited. We've got two competing interests here in Virginia - the crazed parents who want their kid held back so they will be the oldest in the class, and therefore at an advantage, and the crazed parents who just want their kids out of the house (and are pushing for full day kindergarten as an easy and tax payer funded subsitute for day care) so they can go back to earning money for new kitchens and new BMWs etc.

Well, we went with what the pre school told us, and his doctor, and started him this fall as a young five year old. We've had very mixed feelings, and are now thinking of holding him back (after meeting with his teacher yesterday, we are 90% certain we will).

As the school pointed out to us, Kindergarten has always been about socialization and preparing kids for the world. In the last decade or so, that changed and instead of teaching all those things you need to know to be a good person, and filling a kids day with play and wonderment, Kindergarten has become what 2nd grade used to be (indeed, it seems like their curriculum is the same as mine in 2nd grade). This is just too quick to start children, especially little boys (girls learn differently and at different rates). Add to that the fact that at 5 years old he is the youngest person in his class, and it adds up to him having a very very tough time keeping up.

He does all the work, and he actually does better on it, but he just doesn't process information as fast as the other kids do.

I don't know, but based on my experience, I'd wait till they were six to start. And our experience isn't unique. The other parents of 5 year olds seem to feel the same way.

Posted by: countertop at January 23, 2008

I'm in favor of letting the parents decide, rather than leaving the decision to the politicians. If the child isn't ready, then the parents can decide to not enter them until they're six, but if they are ready then they'd have the option.

Posted by: Les Jones at January 23, 2008

I think thats right Les. It should be up to the parent. Up here, it largely is though there is a significant amount of paperwork involved.

Posted by: countertop at January 23, 2008

This is such a tough thing. My daughter will be 5 in July and well ready for kindergarten. But, it bothers me that as she grows there will be boys quite older than she. I'm almost always in favor of parents making these decisions, but I'm talking to parents who just want to keep their kids home another year. It changes the dynamics and causes parents (like us) that would send our 5 year old to be in a predicament.

Posted by: Susan at January 25, 2008

My daughter will be 5 on September 11th. She is looking forward to starting kindergarten this fall. I have paid for 2 years of pre-k to make sure that she is ready. I want the government to come tell my 4 year old that because of 11 days that she has to go to pre-k for the third year in a row!! Let the parents decide on whether or not their child is ready to start school. Each child is different.

Posted by: Andreia at February 05, 2008
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