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EDUCATION / Reading and the classroom: Issues, people
and trends | IN BRIEF

Pilot Program Moves Kindergarten Cutoff

October 08, 2000

SACRAMENTO — Kindergarten isn't just blocks and games anymore, and teachers say California's late age cutoff puts many 4-year-olds in classes before they are ready.

A new pilot program will let a few school districts try moving the birthday cutoff date for beginning kindergarten from Dec. 1 to Sept. 1 to see if that lets the affected children prepare better for elementary school.

"Kindergarten today has become much more academically rigorous than it was originally intended to be," Gov. Gray Davis said, in announcing the signing of the bill creating the program.

California's entry date is one of the latest in the nation, Davis said.

The author of the bill, Assemblywoman Kerry Mazzoni (D-San Rafael), originally wanted to move the date to Sept. 1 for all children and to make kindergarten mandatory. It currently is optional.

The pilot program starts next fall. School districts can apply with the state Department of Education by next May. The maximum number of children born between Sept. 1 and Dec. 1 who would be enrolled instead in the kindergarten readiness program would be 2,300.

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