BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



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          Date of Hearing:   June 30, 2010

                           ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
                                Julia Brownley, Chair
                    SB 1381 (Simitian) - As Amended:  June 1, 2010

           SENATE VOTE  :   28-4
           
          SUBJECT  :   Kindergarten:  age of admission

           SUMMARY  :  Moves up the dates by which a child must turn five to  
          enroll in kindergarten and six to enroll in first grade.   
          Specifically,  this bill  :  

          1)Specifies that in computing the fiscal year average daily  
            attendance (ADA), a school district shall not include the  
            year-to-year loss of ADA in kindergarten for the 2012-13,  
            2013-14, or 2014-15 fiscal year.

          2)Specifies the following dates by which a child must turn five  
            to enroll in kindergarten:

             a)   December 2 for the 2011-12 school year;

             b)   November 1 for the 2012-13 school year;

             c)   October 1 for the 2013-14 school year; and, 

             d)   September 1 for the 2014-15 school year and each school  
               year thereafter.

          3)Specifies that a child who will have his or her fifth birthday  
            on or before one of the dates specified by this bill may be  
            admitted to the prekindergarten summer program maintained by  
            the school district for pupils who will be enrolling in  
            kindergarten in September.

          4)Makes corresponding changes to the dates by which a child must  
            turn 6 to enroll in first grade:

             a)   December 2 for the 2011-12 school year;

             b)   November 1 for the 2012-13 school year;

             c)   October 1 for the 2013-14 school year; and, 








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             d)   September 1 for the 2014-15 school year and each school  
               year thereafter.

          5)Specifies that for good cause, the governing board of a school  
            district may permit a child of proper age to be admitted to a  
            class after the first school month of the school term.

          6)Expresses the intent of the Legislature to appropriate in the  
            annual Budget Act one-half of the savings resulting from  
            changes enacted by this bill for purposes of expanding the  
            state preschool program.  Expresses the intent of the  
            Legislature that children who are four and five years of age  
            and ineligible for kindergarten be allowed to participate in  
            the state preschool program.

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Requires that a child be admitted to a kindergarten at the  
            beginning of a school year, or at any time later in the same  
            year, if the child will have his or her 5th birthday on or  
            before December 2 of that school year.  Provides that a child  
            who will have his or her fifth birthday on or before December  
            2 may be admitted to the prekindergarten summer program  
            maintained by the school district for pupils who will be  
            enrolling in kindergarten in September.  (Education Code (EC)  
            48000) 

          2)Requires that a child be admitted to the first grade of an  
            elementary school during the first month of a school year if  
            the child will have his or her sixth birthday on or before  
            December 2 of that school year.  Provides that for good cause,  
            the governing board of a school district may permit a child of  
            proper age to be admitted to a class after the first school  
            month of the school term.  (EC 48010)

          3)Provides that a child who has been admitted to the  
            kindergarten maintained by a private or a public school in  
            California or any other state, and who has completed one  
            school year therein, shall be admitted to the first grade of  
            an elementary school unless the parent or the guardian of the  
            child and the school district agree that the child may  
            continue in kindergarten for not more than an additional year.  
             (EC 48011)









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          4)Subjects children between the ages of six and 18 years to  
            compulsory full-time education unless exempted pursuant to  
            prescribed provisions of law.  (EC 48200)

          5)Establishes the Kindergarten Readiness Pilot Program, which  
            permits school districts, until January 1, 2014, to  
            participate in a program to provide opportunities to increase  
            a child's readiness for school.  (EC 48005.10 - 48005.55)

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Senate Appropriations  
          Committee, savings in the hundreds of millions.  

           COMMENTS  :    Background  .  This bill moves up the date by which a  
          child must turn five for kindergarten entry one month per year  
          beginning with the 2011-12 school year for three years.  By the  
          2014-15 school year, a child must be five years old by September  
          1st in order to start kindergarten.  California is one of four  
          states (Connecticut, Michigan and Vermont) to have cut-off dates  
          between December 1 and January 1.  Thirty five states have  
          cut-off dates between August 31 and October 16; four states have  
          cut-off dates on or before August 15; six states leave the  
          entrance-age decision up to local school districts; and one  
          state allows districts to choose September 30 or August 1.  It  
          is estimated that 115,000 or 25% of a kindergarten class would  
          be affected by this proposal (there were 461,043 kindergarteners  
          in 2008-09).  The California Department of Education (CDE)  
          projects displacement of 3,500 teachers associated with this  
          shift.  

          Due to increased emphasis on test scores, kindergarten classes  
          now place heavier emphasis on academics.  Success in  
          kindergarten is not only affected by what a child knows or not  
          knows academically, physical, social and emotional factors also  
          matter.  Delaying the entry of four-year-old children will give  
          them time to prepare and mature (e.g., able to follow  
          directions, take care of themselves).  

          Numerous studies have been conducted relative to school  
          readiness and the age of entry into kindergarten.  Some studies  
          report a benefit to delayed entry while others show there are  
          little or no long-term benefits.  The following are a few  
          highlights:

          A May 2008 Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) review  
          of 14 existing studies found that students who enter  








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          kindergarten at an older age do better on math and reading test  
          scores, with the impact lasting into the eighth grade.  Studies  
          also suggest that older students are less likely to be retained  
          a grade or to be diagnosed with a learning disability, while  
          having higher likelihood of attending college and earning higher  
          wages.  The report notes, however, that the actual birthdate for  
          entry would affect individual pupils in different ways.  Those  
          kids who are delayed for a year will be the older kids in their  
          class, but those with the mid-year birthdays will now be the  
          youngest.  While unlikely to occur, this can potentially affect  
          graduation rates.  California's compulsory education law  
          requires attendance in school from six through 18 years of age;  
          kindergarten is not mandatory in California.  Kids who turn 18  
          earlier will be able to leave school earlier and therefore may  
          not graduate.  

          The PPIC also reports the results of one study that shows that  
          kids from higher income families fare better than kids from  
          disadvantaged families due to increased opportunities for access  
          to prekindergarten/preschool programs.  This is evident by  
          parents who intentionally hold children with fall birthdays  
          back, a practice commonly referred to as "redshirting" in order  
          to provide their children with extra time to gain the skills  
          necessary to be successful for academics.  PPIC has determined  
          that the benefits of delaying entry overrides the negatives, but  
          points out that the effect of delaying entry to kindergarten is  
          contingent upon the extent to which disparities in skill  
          acquisition between kids are removed.  Finally, the PPIC  
          recommends that policymakers pay special attention to the effect  
          on disadvantaged kids and English learners, who may need  
          additional prekindergarten opportunities.  

          Another report, "What Age Should Children Enter Kindergarten? A  
          Question for Policy Makers and Parents" (Stipek, 2002),  
          concludes that school experience makes a greater contribution to  
          academic achievement than delaying children's school entry.   
          According to Stipek, research does not support any unique  
          "threshold" entry age by which young children are most ready to  
          begin school. Children from low-income backgrounds, already at  
          risk of starting school behind their middle-class peers in terms  
          of academic skills, may be even further disadvantaged when  
          kindergarten is delayed.

          A 2005 study by the RAND Corporation titled "Delaying  
          Kindergarten:  Effects on Test Scores and Childcare Costs" found  








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          that delaying kindergarten boosts standardized test scores in  
          math and reading.  However, the study also noted that delaying  
          kindergarten can have a negative economic effect on families by  
          imposing additional childcare costs for families.  The report  
          suggests that "policymakers may need to view entrance age  
          policies and childcare policies as a package."

          A CDE report in 2004 also recommends that thought be given to  
          the types and quality of preschool services that would be  
          available to displaced children.

          The LAO in its analysis of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2010-11 budget,  
          supports the date change and recommends implementation beginning  
          in the 2011-12 school year in order to realize approximately  
          $700 million savings from revenue limit and categorical program  
          savings.  The LAO suggests that some of the funding could be  
          used for subsidized preschool for low-income kids.  Concerns  
          have been raised about moving the birthdate for kindergarten for  
          budgetary reasons.  The reason for delaying entry is to ensure  
          that the kids are better prepared for school, academically and  
          social-emotionally.  If over 100,000 kids are prevented from  
          starting their education, the state should ensure that they have  
          access to programs that will ensure their school readiness.  

          There is general agreement that changing the birthdate by which  
          a child must turn five to ensure that kids are older before  
          entering kindergarten is good policy.  There are, however, major  
          issues related to the policy change that must be addressed.  

           Phase in or all at once?  :  This bill proposes to phase in the  
          change over three years time by moving the date by which a child  
          must turn five years old one month at a time, starting with  
          November 1st in the 2011-12 school year.  There have been  
          numerous bills on this subject over the last 13 years.  Some  
          bills have proposed phasing in the change one month each year  
          over three years, while the majority has proposed to make the  
          change in one year.  The author's office argues that phasing in  
          the change results in less of an impact and enables districts to  
          better adjust to the loss of enrollment.  However, the  
          California School Boards Association (CSBA), which has a Support  
          if Amended position on the bill, advocates for making the change  
          in one year.  CSBA argues that the transition is easier and will  
          be less confusing for families and schools if done all at once.   
          Whether it's better to make the change in one year or over three  
          years may depend on whether displaced kids will be provided  








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          access to preparatory programs and what type of programs they  
          will be.  If this policy is accompanied by no provision of  
          kindergarten readiness program or if it is provided through  
          preschool programs, then it would be better to phase in the  
          policy change.  The FY 2009-10 budget allocated $439 million for  
          State Preschool Programs, providing over 110,000 slots for  
          children who families meet income eligibility of 75% of the  
          state median income ($50,256 for a family of four).  According  
          to the CDE, the County Centralized Eligibility List shows 58,075  
          income eligible children ages three and four waiting for slots  
          in subsidized programs.  Phasing in the change will result in  
          fewer children seeking preschool slots at the same time.  On the  
          other hand, if the policy change is accompanied by the  
          establishment of a transitional kindergarten program to be  
          provided by school districts, it might be better to make the  
          change in one year.  Making the change in one year will enable  
          school districts to increase the number of transitional  
          kindergarten programs, which increases the likelihood that the  
          child will have access to programs closer to home.  If there are  
          fewer students impacted, the district will establish fewer  
          programs, which may require a child to travel outside of their  
          neighborhood. Smaller school districts will also have an easier  
          time implementing a transitional kindergarten program if the  
          change is done all at once, since the number of kids in a  
          transitional kindergarten program will be too small if phased  
          in.  Six states (Colorado, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New  
          Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania) allow school districts to  
          make entry-age decisions.  The Legislature could allow districts  
          to decide whether to make the change at one time or phase in the  
          change over three years.  Whether the accommodation will be  
          preschool or transitional kindergarten to be held at a  
          schoolsite, or phased in or changed in one year, it would be  
          beneficial to delay implementation for a year or two, in order  
          to provide time for programs to be developed and started.

           Preschool or transitional kindergarten  ?   Ensure access for all  
          kids or just low-income kids  ?  One of the most contentious  
          issues related to delaying entry to kindergarten is what to do  
          with kids who are displaced.  Not providing access to  
          preparatory programs will cause more harm than allowing a young  
          child to start kindergarten.  The questions raised include:   
          Should the state provide access to kindergarten readiness  
          programs to all kids or just low-income kids?  If the state is  
          to provide access, should the state expand access to the State  
          Preschool Program or should the state authorize school districts  








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          to establish transitional kindergarten programs provided at a  
          schoolsite by school districts?  This bill proposes to divert  
          half of the savings from Proposition 98 to State Preschool  
          Programs.  State preschool programs must comply with Title 5  
          regulations developed by the CDE, which are known to be higher  
          standards than Title 22 regulations for general child care  
          programs regulated by the Department of Social Services.  With  
          the phasing in of the state Preschool Learning Foundations,  
          focusing on social-emotional development, language and literacy,  
          English-language development, and mathematics, State Preschool  
          Programs are striving to improve quality and better prepare kids  
          for kindergarten.  However, with thousands of children on the  
          waiting list and a fairly low income cap, most displaced  
          children will not have access to a State Preschool Program,  
          unless the income eligibility is modified for displaced kids.   
          Otherwise, families with modest incomes above the eligibility  
          threshold who were anticipating preschool savings when their  
          kids enter kindergarten will have to pay for another year of  
          preschool.  Eligibility for State Preschool Program will also  
          need to be revised to include enrollment of five-year-old  
          children.  Currently, priority is for four-year-old children and  
          then three-year-old children.  According to the LAO,  
          approximately 9,200 four-year-olds born between September and  
          December are attending State Preschool Programs.  The LAO also  
          indicates that with a phased in approach, approximately 43,600  
          children are impacted the first year.  That would leave 34,400  
          kids without access to State Preschool Programs.  It is unclear  
          whether these programs are available even if savings as a result  
          of delaying entry are provided for this purpose.  

          School districts might have an easier time implementing  
          transitional kindergarten programs, since they already have  
          facilities and staff, which are major challenges for starting  
          new programs.    Moreover, there are anecdotal reports of  
          increasing number of districts experimenting with transitional  
          kindergarten for children with fall birthdays.  Districts are  
          using as the basis of their programs existing law that allows  
          parents and school districts to, upon the conclusion of one year  
          of kindergarten, retain a child for another year.  These  
          programs may differ from preschool programs in that they are  
          taught by credentialed teachers and are adapted from  
          kindergarten curriculum.  Another advantage is that the kids  
          will likely be on a schoolsite where they will experience  
          classroom setting, but without the stigma of being "held back"  
          for another year of kindergarten.  Transitional kindergarten  








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          causes less change and disruption to children, their families,  
          teachers, schools, and districts.  

           Savings or no savings  ?  The LAO estimates $700 million in  
          revenue limit savings as a result of serving fewer students.   
          With the phased in approach, the LAO estimates $230 million  
          savings the first year with additional savings from categorical  
          programs.  This is a loss to the Proposition 98 base.  While  
          identifying savings to offset General Fund deficits might be  
          attractive, this policy change should not be viewed through a  
          fiscal lens.  Enrolling displaced kids in State Preschool  
          Programs will be cheaper than establishing transitional  
          kindergarten programs.  The Standard Reimbursement Rate for  
          State Preschool Programs is $21.22 per day per child or $3,714  
          annually, compared with approximately $6,000 for revenue limit  
          spending.  The savings are a result of preventing kids from  
          attending school.  If the savings are not used to ensure that  
          kids have access to a quality kindergarten readiness program, or  
          if the kids end up watching television or attending child care  
          settings that do not have a kindergarten readiness component  
          over the next year, there would be no benefit to delaying entry  
          to kindergarten.

           Declining enrollment adjustment  .  Current law provides for  
          general purpose funding to school districts through the revenue  
          limit program.  Each district has a defined revenue limit per  
          unit of ADA that is based on historical expenditures on  
          education as modified through various statutory adjustments.  A  
          district's total revenue limit apportionment is calculated based  
          on the greater of current or prior year ADA.  Thus, districts  
          are held harmless for losses in ADA for one year (the declining  
          enrollment adjustment).  This bill specifies that ADA shall not  
          include the year-to-year loss of ADA as a result of moving the  
          birthdates for kindergarten entry, thereby prohibiting districts  
          from being held harmless as a result loss of enrollment pursuant  
          to this bill.  The Small School Districts Association opposes  
          this provision of the bill and states that small school  
          districts are unable to consolidate classes with a decline in  
          kindergarten enrollment because they only have one or two  
          classes per grade.  Without the hold harmless provision, a small  
          school district would be forced to maintain their instructional  
          personnel while sustaining loss of revenue because of the  
          enrollment decline.  

          This bill is very similar to AB 1967 (Mendoza), which was held  








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          in the Assembly Appropriations Committee suspense file this  
          year.  AB 1967 makes the birthdate change in one year and  
          provides revenue limit for transitional kindergarten programs.

           Committee amendments  .  This bill currently states legislative  
          intent to divert half of the savings generated by this bill to  
          the State Preschool Programs.  Due to the advantages offered by  
          enrolling kids in a transitional kindergarten program, staff  
          recommends striking the intent language and instead establishing  
          transitional kindergarten programs.  Staff also recommends  
          postponing implementation for one year.  

           Arguments in Support  .  The author states, "Today's kindergarten  
          classroom is a much different place than most of us experienced.  
           We're placing real academic demands on our kindergarteners, and  
          the youngest are struggling to keep up.  The evidence shows that  
          giving these young fives an extra year can make a big difference  
          in their long term success."

          Several organizations, including the California School Boards  
          Association, the Association of California School  
          Administrators, and Preschool California have a Support if  
          Amended position.  They are seeking amendments to ensure that  
          kindergarten readiness or preschool programs are in place and  
          savings derived from the change remain within Proposition 98.  

          The Special Education Local Plan Area Administrators also has a  
          Support if Amended position and seeks an amendment to provide  
          base revenue limit funding for students with disabilities served  
          in prekindergarten rather than kindergarten.

           Arguments in Opposition  .  The California Teachers Association  
          states that while it supports changing the kindergarten entry  
          age, it must be done incrementally and responsibly.  "CTA  
          believes that all displaced students should have the opportunity  
          to go to a quality preschool program.  The current state  
          preschool program is not accessible to all children and we do  
          not believe it appropriate to displace students without access  
          to preschool, particularly as many parents may not have the  
          resources for childcare in these unpredictable economic times.   
          CTA also believes budget cuts should not be made on the backs of  
          children."  

           Related legislation  .  AB 1967 (Mendoza) moves up the date by  
          three months by which a child must be five years old to enroll  








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          in kindergarten and six years old to enroll in first grade and  
          authorizes the funds to be used for transitional kindergarten  
                                                 programs maintained by school districts.  The bill was held in  
          the Assembly Appropriations Committee's suspense file.

          SB 293 (Runner) moves the birthday one month each year for three  
          years. The bill was not heard in 2009 or 2010.

           Previous legislation  .  AB 1236 (Mullin), moves up the date by 3  
          months by which a child must be 5 years old to enroll in  
          kindergarten and 6 years old to enroll in first grade, beginning  
          in 2011-12; makes kindergarten compulsory, beginning in 2010-11;  
          and establishes the Kindergarten Readiness Program, beginning in  
          2011-12.  This bill was held by the Assembly Appropriations  
          Committee in 2008.
           
           AB 2596 (S. Runner), moves up the birthday one month each year  
          and requires any savings to be allocated to the State Department  
          of Education to provide reimbursement for child care and  
          development services for eligible (low-income) families.  The  
          bill was held by the Assembly Appropriations Committee in 2006.

          SB 1764 (George Runner), also changes the age of admission to  
          kindergarten, but requires any savings realized by these changes  
          to be appropriated to increase access to preschool programs for  
          at-risk 4 year olds.  The bill was held by the Assembly  
          Appropriations Committee in 2006.

          AB 1394 (S. Runner), introduced in 2006, was identical to early  
          versions of AB 2596, but was never heard.

          AB 66 (Pavley) would have authorized 23 specified school  
          districts to operate a two-year kindergarten pilot program, a  
          component of which would have allowed a child who has had his or  
          her fifth birthday between September 1 and December 2 of the  
          school year to be admitted to year-one of the program with the  
          approval of the parent or guardian.  AB 66 was held on the  
          Assembly Appropriations Committee's suspense file in 2006.

          AB 2970 (Pavley) of 2004 would have authorized a school district  
          to offer kindergarten classes at different schoolsites within  
          the district for different lengths of time and authorized a  
          school district to change the age at which a child is admitted  
          to kindergarten.  AB 2970 was held on the Assembly  
          Appropriations Committee's suspense file.








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          AB 810 (S. Runner) of 2003 would have moved up the dates by  
          which a child must be 5 years old to enroll in kindergarten and  
          6 years old to enroll in first grade.  AB 810 failed passage in  
          the Assembly Education Committee.

          AB 25 (Mazzoni), Chapter 1022, Statutes of 2000, created the  
          voluntary Kindergarten Readiness Pilot Program to test the  
          effectiveness of changing the kindergarten age of entry.   
          Beginning with the 2001-02 school year, participating school  
          districts could have required a child to be 5 years old before  
          September 1 to enroll in kindergarten.  AB 25 provided funding  
          to school districts to compensate for the temporary loss of  
          attendance caused by changing kindergarten enrollment dates, and  
          required school districts to provide pre-kindergarten  
          instruction as a condition of the receipt of that funding.  This  
          pilot program has not been implemented because it was not  
          funded.  It is scheduled to sunset on January 1, 2011.

          AB 513 (Mazzoni) of 1999 would have moved up the dates by which  
          a child must be 5 years old to enroll in kindergarten and 6  
          years old to enroll in first grade, phased in the change  
          one-month at a time over 3 years, held districts harmless for  
          any loss of revenue caused by this change, required outreach,  
          made kindergarten mandatory, required an assurance that an  
          adequate number of preschool and child care spaces were  
          available from children who would have otherwise been in  
          kindergarten, and required an evaluation of the effects on  
          student performance.  AB 513 was held on the Assembly  
          Appropriations Committee's suspense file.

          AB 85 (G. Runner) of 1997 would have moved up the dates by which  
          a child must be 5 years old to enroll in kindergarten and 6  
          years old to enroll in first grade, phased in the change  
          one-month at a time over 3 years, and held districts harmless  
          for any loss of revenue caused by this change.  AB 85 failed  
          passage in the Assembly Education Committee.

          Governor Wilson's 1992 proposal (part of his proposed Budget) to  
          change the date for admission to kindergarten was not approved  
          due to concerns about the significant budget deficit.

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :

           Support 








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          Association of California School Administrators (if amended)
          California Association of School Psychologists
          California Association of Suburban School Districts
          California Kindergarten Association
          California School Boards Association (if amended)
          First 5 Santa Clara County
          Inclusion Collaborative of Santa Clara County
          Junior League of San Jose
          Local Early Education Planning Council of Santa Clara County
          Palo Alto Educators' Association
            Poway Unified School District
          Preschool California (if amended)
          San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce
          Santa Clara County School Boards Association
          Silicon Valley Leadership Group
          Special Education Local Plan Area (if amended)
          State Public Affairs Committee of the Junior Leagues of  
          California
          Several individuals

           Opposition 
           
          California Right to Life Committee, Inc.
          California Teachers Association
          Small School Districts' Association (unless amended)
          One individual

           Analysis Prepared by  :    Sophia Kwong Kim / ED. / (916) 319-2087