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Mackinac Center for Public Policy
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2011 Senate Bill 315: Require kindergartners be 5 on Sept. 1
  1. Introduced by Sen. Darwin Booher (R) on April 12, 2011, to require children to be age 5 on Sept. 1 to attend kindergarten, rather than by Dec. 1 under current law. The bill would also establish procedures for allowing a child who is less than age 5 on the new date to still start kindergarten, including a skills level assessment test. Note: School districts get extra money from the state for every kindergartner they enroll.
    • Referred to the Senate Education Committee on April 12, 2011.
      • Reported in the Senate on March 15, 2012, with the recommendation that the substitute (S-3) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
    • Substitute offered in the Senate on May 1, 2012. The substitute passed by voice vote in the Senate on May 1, 2012.
    • Substitute offered by Sen. Mike Nofs (R) on May 3, 2012, to replace the previous version of the bill with one that lets a child who would have been eligible under the current requirements to still attend if the parents "opt in" by notifying the school by June 1. The substitute passed by voice vote in the Senate on May 3, 2012.
    • Amendment offered by Sen. Darwin Booher (R) on May 3, 2012, to revise a wording detail in the proposed parent "opt out" provision. The amendment passed by voice vote in the Senate on May 3, 2012.
  2. Passed 38 to 0 in the Senate on May 3, 2012, to require children to be age 5 by Sept. 1 to attend kindergarten, rather than by Dec. 1 under current law. This earlier age cut-off would be phased in one month at a time over three years, starting in 2013. A child who would have been eligible under the current requirements could still attend if the parents "opt in" by notifying the school by June 1. The phase-in was negotiated because school districts get money from the state for each kindergartner, whose numbers would be reduced during the transition period.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  3. Received in the House on May 3, 2012.
    • Referred to the House Education Committee on May 3, 2012.

Comments

Re: 2011 Senate Bill 315 (Require kindergartners be 5 on Sept. 1)  by Freerider on October 12, 2012 

Is the legislature planning on passing this before the end of the year?



Re: 2011 Senate Bill 315 (Require kindergartners be 5 on Sept. 1)  by JMO on May 7, 2012 

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.



Re: 2011 Senate Bill 315 (Require kindergartners be 5 on Sept. 1)  by Freerider on March 30, 2012 

 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.



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