Education professionals joining Runner at the news conference attested to the problems encountered by children who enter kindergarten at too young an age. “California is one of only a handful of states to admit children to kindergarten when they are still four years old,” Runner continued. “Many four-year-olds now admitted to kindergarten are not yet mature enough to benefit from the more rigorous kindergarten studies and may be doomed to academic failures in following years. My legislation will help most children do better by starting kindergarten later.” AB 2596 is scheduled to be heard by the Assembly Education Committee on Wednesday, April 26.
Sharon Runner (R-Antelope Valley) announced her introduction of “The School Readiness Act of 2007”
Assemblywoman Sharon Runner (R-Antelope Valley) announced her introduction of “The School Readiness Act of 2007” – a comprehensive bill that will better prepare students to succeed in school.
“Our current system is simply not fair to our children,” Runner said. “In many cases we are setting children up to fail. This comprehensive measure will address school readiness for our youngest students.” Accompanied by kindergarten teachers and advocates for early childhood education, Runner provided details of her Assembly Bill 2596, which will change the current kindergarten entrance date so that a child must be five years old on or before September 1 of that school year. Additionally, the savings created by this change, adding up to almost one billion dollars a year for thirteen years, will be directed to help those families who currently do not have access to pre-school. As with past versions of this bill, exceptions can be made for special circumstances to enable a child to start early. This type of kindergarten bill has been tried in the past by Runner. However, this bill has the additional benefit of providing resources for childcare to those who may be displaced by having to wait another year to start kindergarten. In essence, AB 2596 offers an excellent alternative to Proposition 82 by diverting funds to those children who truly need the financial help as opposed to providing even the wealthy with universal preschool.