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Controversy surrounds kindergarten age change in Connecticut

A coalition of parents, advocates and bipartisan lawmakers is advocating for $50 million in early childhood education funding and a one-year delay in implementing the new cutoff date.

News 12 Staff

Feb 23, 2024, 1:09 PM

Updated 145 days ago

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Parents and lawmakers are urging the state to reconsider its plan to change the starting age for kindergarten.
The State Department of Education projects that approximately 9,000 incoming students will experience a delayed start to kindergarten due to the new cutoff date. Last year, a bill was passed to move the cutoff date up by four months, leading to many families scrambling for alternative child care arrangements.
A coalition of parents, advocates and bipartisan lawmakers is advocating for $50 million in early childhood education funding and a one-year delay in implementing the new cutoff date.
Previously, Connecticut children could begin kindergarten if they turned five before Dec. 31, allowing some to start school at four years old. The new cutoff date, requiring children to be five years old by September 1, brings Connecticut more in line with other states' standards.
Education administrators stress that the kindergarten curriculum has become more challenging and may not be suitable for 4-year-olds.
However, concerns persist about the timing of the rollout and the availability of child care for families affected by the change. "I worry about how this will affect my child in being able to access continued care, or any assistance that I receive for her care," expresses Linnette Mendoza, a parent from Waterbury.
Dr. Joseph DiBacco, Ansonia superintendent, emphasizes the potential impact on vulnerable populations: "If they have to test and see if it's appropriate for them to start school - we're going to lose a segment of our population that needs us more than ever."
Notably, schools still have the discretion to admit 4-year-olds into kindergarten if requested by parents and if the students pass a test assessing their readiness.


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