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Program Phasing Older California Kids Into Kindergarten Classes Being Evaluated

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— It used to be a child could start Kindergarten in the state of California if they turned five by December 2nd, but this marked the first year of a gradual rollback to September 1st to make sure kids are older when entering school.

As many as 40,000 schoool children are eligible for the changes. For children impacted by the date change, districts were also required to start transitional kindergarten.

Now an evaluation by the American Institutes of Research is underway as to the impact of the age change.

Former State Senator and current Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian authored the legislation and looks forward to data on the outcomes.

“How many youngsters are being held back? On a national level we see about 18 percent of youngsters K through 3rd held back a year. That ought to go down if we’re doing the job right with transitional kindergarten and if that older starting rate makes the difference that I think it will,” Simitian said.

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Simitian also believes fewer children will be found to have needed remedial help or to have been unnecessarily placed in special education.

“Kindergarten used to be the get ready year for real school and over the years as it’s gotten more rigorous; we discover K is real school,” he said.

Simitian said the program is being phased in over three years in order to match other states’ age levels.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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