Oppose Mandatory Kindergarten – Call the Senate Appropriations Committee

Joint Legislative Action Alert – March 23, 2021

From: Nathan Pierce – Family Protection Ministries, and Mike Smith – HSLDA

Bill: SB 70 (as amended) – Mandatory Kindergarten

Author: State Senator Rubio

Position: Strongly OPPOSE

SB 70 is most likely to be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on April 5th, 2021. If passed by the Appropriations Committee, SB 70 will be voted on by the whole Senate before being sent to the Assembly. Quickly pass this alert on to others who might respond and then take the suggested action below.

Summary of Concern

Under current law, parents can choose to have their child skip kindergarten and begin at the 1st grade. SB 70 would eliminate this current parental choice by mandating that every child attend kindergarten for one school year before they could be admitted to the first grade. This would go into effect at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year. SB 70 is an incremental step toward lowering the compulsory school age and expanding government control over children from birth to adulthood, in both public and private schools (including homeschools).

Information Included In This Action Alert:

  • A.   Action Items
  • B.   Opposition Points
  • C.   Background
  • D.   Summary

A.  ACTION Items

The most critical action items are at the top of this list. Please move down the list and complete as many additional items on the list as you can. Always contact legislators as a parent and citizen. Do not call or write as a homeschooler.


1) Call Immediately (by 4pm Thursday, March 25) the member of the Senate Appropriations Committee according to the first letter of your Last Name as indicated in the alphabetized list below. It is best to call between 9:00am and 4:00pm.

Tell them: “Please vote no on SB 70 as amended. I oppose mandatory Kindergarten. Please keep Kindergarten voluntary.”

2) Be sure to call the Senator who represents your district if they are a member of this committee. Please also consider calling some or all of the rest of the Senate Appropriations Committee members on the list below. Please use this link to find out which Senator is representing your district: http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov.


Senate Appropriations Committee


A-B 

Anthony Portantino, Chair

Phone: 916-651-4025


C-E

Patricia Bates, Vice Chair

Phone: 916-651-4036


F-H

Steven Bradford 

Phone: 916-651-4035


I-L

Brian Jones  

Phone: 916-651-4038


M-Q

John Laird 

Phone: 916-651-4017


R-S

Bob Wieckowski  

Phone: 916-651-4010


T-Z

Sydney Kamlager

Phone: 916-651-4030

Notes:

  • Always contact legislators as a parent and citizen. This bill affects all families with children.
  • This is not an exclusively homeschool issue. Do not call or write as a homeschooler.
  • Do not disclose the source of this Alert. All bills are available on the Internet.
  • Pass this on to your friends, church, school, and group.
  • Pray for a proper outcome.

B.  Opposition Points

SB 70 would damage children. Beginning formal education at age 5 or younger causes unintended harmful consequences to children, some of which last a lifetime. Research* indicates that early formal childhood education not only causes both physical and behavioral long-term problems but that it also does not improve the child’s potential for being a better student later on. 

*Research https://childandfamilyprotection.org/2014/04/01/early-childhood-education-research-summaries-of-the-effects-of-universal-kindergarten/ demonstrates that: 

Gains experienced by children who began their formal education at age 5 (or younger) disappear in just a few years. 

These same children, however, experience long-lasting adverse effects on their physical, behavioral, and educational development, including life-long vision impairment, and for many, detriments to mathematics and nonacademic readiness skills. 

Boys are especially damaged by early entrance (age 5 and younger) into formal education. Boys’ cognitive and verbal skill development significantly lags behind that of girls at this age. As a result, boys do not do as well in the early years, at which time many experience failures leading to frustration, and for some, substance abuse and later criminal behavior. 

For the sake of your own children, every parent should read “Early Childhood Education: Research Summaries of the Effects of Universal Kindergarten” Updated 2021 at https://childandfamilyprotection.org/2014/04/01/early-childhood-education-research-summaries-of-the-effects-of-universal-kindergarten/.

SB 70 would diminish the parental rights of all parents. Under SB 70, parents who choose to delay their child’s entrance into kindergarten would be forced to undergo a time and financial penalty of adding a year of required schooling before graduation. Enrollment into kindergarten prior to the first grade must remain optional for parents. 

SB 70 would decrease 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.

C.  Background

Under SB 70, parents who would have chosen to delay their child’s entrance into formal education and skip kindergarten, would be forced to choose between either:

(a) starting their child’s formal education one year earlier, before they feel it is best for their child, or

(b) graduating their child a year later than they would under current law. 

This is because 13 years of schooling would be required under SB 70 rather than the current 12 years of schooling. 

SB 70 would add a new section to the law that governs public schools. We have assurances from the Author’s staff that the bill would not apply to private schools and homeschools enrolling 1st graders. However, it would impact families who do not wish for their child to formally attend Kindergarten and then later want to enroll them in a public school for 1st grade. 

Advocates of extending government control of all children from birth would be able to use passage of SB 70 as an incremental step toward establishing seamless, cradle-to-career government-controlled education and development programs for all children.  

Passage of SB 70 could be followed by the next incremental legislative step — making institutionalized preschool (pre-kindergarten) for every 3 and 4 year-old child universally available to all children and then the next step – making it universally mandatory for every 3 and 4 year-old child, and required for private schools (including homeschools). 

Under Governor Newsom’s direction, the California Health and Human Services Agency has developed a Master Plan for Early Education and Care. This master plan clearly proposes creating universal preschool, as well as comprehensive care for toddlers and infants. Requiring kindergarten is a clear stepping stone towards implementing these goals.

D.  Summary

  • Rushing children into formal education by effectively lowering the age at which children begin formal education by mandating Kindergarten would exact a heavy toll on the development of many children and would 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.
  • SB 70 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. It is a detrimental one-size-fits-all mandate that would be forced upon all children by the government.