Effectively Lowering School Entry Age
JOINT LEGISLATIVE ACTION ALERT – April 13, 2012
From: Roy Hanson — Family Protection Ministries and Mike Smith — HSLDA
Bill: AB 1772 (as amended 4/11/12)
Author: State Assemblymember Joan Buchanan
Position: Strongly OPPOSE
Status: Hearing set for Wednesday, April 18, 2012, in the California State Assembly Education Committee.
Our parental rights and homeschool freedoms in California are under attack in an unprecedented way this year. Your help is key to the defense of our freedoms; so it is critical that you read every alert and take the suggested action in each one ASAP. Quickly pass these alerts on to others who might respond.
Summary of Concern:
AB 1772 would make Kindergarten mandatory before taking the first grade, forcing one more year to a child’s education.
AB 1772, as recently amended, does indirectly what the last version of this bill did directly – that is to have “everyone” starting school at 5 years of age.
Information Included In This E-mail:
A. Action Items
B. Opposition Points to Share with Legislators
C. Background Information
A. Action Items:
1) CALL IMMEDIATELY (No later than 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17th) the member of the Assembly Education Committee according to the first letter of your last name as indicated in the alphabetized list below.
“Please vote no on AB 1772 (by Buchanan). I oppose mandatory Kindergarten which effectively lowers the compulsory attendance age to 5.”
2) AFTER you have called, consider following up your call by emailing (or faxing) a brief letter.
(Please refer to the “Opposition Points to Share with Legislators” for additional ideas that you could include if you can write a follow-up letter to email or fax. A brief one paragraph letter, writing down what you told them in your phone call would be adequate.)
- Call and write as a parent and citizen. This bill directly affects all families with young children.
- Do not disclose the source of this Alert. All bills are available on the Internet.
- Calls are most effective in this time-limited situation.
- Pass this onto your friends, church, school, and group.
- Pray for a proper outcome.
For Action Item #1 above, please call the member of the Assembly Education Committee according to the first letter of your last name as indicated in the following list:
Wilmer Amina Carter
Linda Halderman, M.D.
After you have called, you may use one or more of the “Opposition Points to Share with Legislators” stated below if you email a letter to a committee member — preferably before 3:00 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, April 17th.
B. Opposition Points to Share with Legislators:
- AB 1772 is not necessary. According to the Assembly Education Committee and the California Department of Education on March 16, 2012, 90-95% of all children of Kindergarten age already attend public or private Kindergarten. Parents who desire to enroll their children at age 5 in California can choose to do so already. In September 2002, Governor Davis vetoed AB 634, which also addressed mandatory Kindergarten attendance saying, “I am concerned that this bill would unduly restrict a parent’s or guardian’s education choices for their children. I believe parents should retain the right to choose an education program for their 5-year-old children.”
- AB 1772 decreases beneficial parental contact with their children. An extra year of development outside of school can be critical for a child at this early age. Carl Zinsmeister, Adjunct Research Associate at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, says, “Declining parental attachment is an extremely serious risk to children today. The verdict of enormous psychological literature is that time spent with the parent is the very clearest correlate of healthy child development.” Parents should continue to have the authority to decide what is best for their children.
- AB 1772 forces children into school too soon. There is much research indicating that early childhood education not only can cause both physical developmental and behavioral problems in future years but also does not improve the child’s potential for being a better student later on. This is especially significant for boys, because their cognitive and verbal skill development generally lags behind that of girls at this age.
- AB 1772 is based on faulty information. Arthur Jensen, a learning psychologist, wrote in the Harvard Educational Review in 1969 that Benjamin Bloom’s conclusion that people develop 50% of their mature intelligence by the age of 4 is a statistically unwarranted conclusion. In 1970, Nancy Bailey, a University of California child psychologist whose data Bloom used, pointed out that Bloom’s theory was wrong because it was based on an inadequate definition of intelligence. In spite of statements to the contrary, there is no solid evidence that Kindergarten brings any lasting or permanent educational benefit to a child.
- AB 1772 would place an increased financial burden on parents who now will have to pay for 13 years of school rather than 12.
- For documentation of research supporting the above statements and additional related research results, please see our background documents on early childhood education at www.childandfamilyprotection.org. Every parent should read “Institutionalized Early Childhood Education Background and Issues“ – http://www.childandfamilyprotection.org/ECE%20BG%20US%20071101.pdf.
C. Background Information:
- AB 1772 would make Kindergarten mandatory and effectively lower the compulsory attendance age for entry into school from 6 to 5 years of age. This requirement would apply to all children, whether their parents plan to send them to public school or private school (including private homeschools).
- Rushing children into formal education by effectively lowering the age at which children begin formal education by mandating Kindergarten will exact a heavy toll on the development of many children and will weaken the role of parents in their lives. This is diametrically opposed to the message parents are routinely given, that parents need to be more involved in their children’s lives. However, parents cannot be more involved when the state either encourages or requires children to be with their parents for less time. Research supports later rather than earlier entry of children into institutionalized settings for educational development to be the most beneficial.
- AB 1772 encroaches on the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children. It ignores the long-standing presumption that parents act in the best interest of their children, by requiring parents to enroll their children in Kindergarten rather than allowing them the choice specified in current law. It disregards the parent’s understanding of what would be the best course of action for his own child’s education and development.
- Advocates of government control of all children would be able to use AB 1772 as an incremental step toward establishing a seamless, cradle-to-grave, government-run education and human development program. Passage of AB 1772 could be followed by future legislation making institutionalized preschool mandatory for every 3 and 4-year-old child. Universal preschool has been proposed by legislators and openly encouraged by proponents of early childhood education. Washington D.C. considered 3-year-old compulsory education a few years ago.
For information on how to contact your state assembly member and state senator, please visit http://bit.ly/HpgytN.