Starting next year, California kindergartners must be five years old by November 1st to start public school. The age change will continue to phase in and in 2014, kindergartners will have to be five by September 1st. Democratic State Senator Joe Simitian wrote the law. He says kindergarten these days is more rigorous-with higher expectations. He says the current requirement-five by December-has left too many kids struggling.
"Too many of these young fives are repeating a grade, sometime between k-through-3, too many of these young fives are unnecessarily placed in special education."
Since four-year-olds will be ineligible for kindergarten the new law also created a "transitional kindergarten". Scott Moore is with the group Preschool California, a non-profit organization that supported the legislation. His organization offers help to school districts with the new program.
"It's like a new grade for four year olds."