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Kindergartens Are Not Day-Care Centers

May 22, 1997

I read Robin Abcarian's "Don't Tell Me What My Child Can Handle" (May 14) concerning the cutoff date for starting kindergarten. I must take exception to a couple of points she made.

First, it is not the school's responsibility to provide day care for children. In a roundabout way, that is what happens when a child starts school, but to use that as an argument against raising the age for starting school is ridiculous.

As far as "red-shirting" goes, this is very common in the big football states where parents hold their child, usually a boy, out of school for an extra year so the child starts kindergarten at age 6.

California is one of the few states that allows kids to be 4 1/2 when they start. It seems to come from the mentality of always being first. I would rather see the starting age be set at 5 by the time school starts, and then make exceptions from there.

If a 4 1/2-year-old is truly ready, then make an exception. In doing it this way, it seems the academic and emotional needs of the child will be met rather than the economic needs of the parents.

It seems almost as if Abcarian is taking this as a personal assault against her child. A line has to be drawn somewhere. The main focus should be on what is best for the majority of the children, and it seems to have become centered more on parents' egos and the economic factor. Too bad for the kids.



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