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Our Youngest Pupils May Get Older

September 05, 2000

The minimum entry age for kindergarten may get three months older next year for some California public schools if Assemblywoman Kerry Mazzoni (D-San Rafael) has her way. The Mazzoni bill (AB25), which passed the Assembly by wide margins last week, would allow for public schools in a voluntary pilot program to change their birth date entry requirement from Dec. 2 to Sept. 1, according to Aimee Scribner, a spokeswoman from Mazzoni's office.

Gov. Gray Davis is expected to act on the bill this month. If he signs it, about 2% of California's public kindergartens will participate in the seven-year study. If the move proves beneficial, the state will probably adopt new legislation changing the entrance date for all public kindergartens.

To address the needs of the children who would not make the new cutoff, participating schools would receive funds to provide a pre-kindergarten class. Mazzoni herself is no stranger to the fall-birthday dilemma. Both her children have November birthdays and went to public school. "My daughter went early, and my son waited a year, and I've had no regrets."

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