Is the legislature planning on passing this before the end of the year?
It doesn't matter how inconvenient parents may find this bill to be. It is a good bill for kids, and that is the important thing. By phasing it in over a three year period everyone is given a chance to adjust, including schools, who may have to add pre-kindergarten classes for children who have completed their pre-school options. Parents need to look ahead in their children's lives to middle school and high school. I taught middle school for 28 years, and the "older" students in their grade were much more equipped to handle not only the academics, but peer pressure, classroom behavior, and athletic readiness. When youth get to high school, it is disconcerting to think that a 15 year old may be riding around in the car of a 16 year old who happens to be in the same grade. Maturity counts for a lot at every level, and having the starting age for kindergarten change is a forward step toward helping provide that.
I agree with you. Either make it for the '13-'14 school year or put in a grandfather clause exempting those already enrolled. 60 Minutes recently aired a story about parents red-shirting (purposely holding back) kids that were born in the fall. Kids born in Sep, Oct and Nov, under current law, will be 4 at the start of kindergarten (K). Meanwhile, the kids born in the begining of the year will be turning 6 shortly after the fall born kids turn 5. This is a big disadvantage for the younger kids. That is a huge difference in those early crutial years and carries over for the remainder of their time in school. The book "Outliers" suggests that kids born in the first quarter (Jan, Feb, Mar) have a far better success rate in academics, sports and social skills as they are older, bigger and more mentally advanced. Being the older kid increases a kids self-esteem and therefore also their confidence. They are the first in their class to turn 10, 13, first to be old enough to drive (huge advantage when it comes to dating (self-esteem)), turn 18. The book "Outliers" also suggests that this carries over into adulthood and that kids born in the first quarter are more likely to be successful. The 60 Minutes piece noted that in one the schools they profiled, 80% of that schools 8th grade hockey team was born in the first quarter. This was not an isolated trend. This is why parents of fall born kids were red-shirting them, so they would not be the youngest in their class. So their kids would then be the advanced ones. Perhaps the reason why this bill exists!
Under current law, fall born kids would start K at age 4 and high school at 13. That's too young. Illinois' cut off date is September 1st. Ours should be too.