State lawmakers in Albany voted this week to make kindergarten mandatory for all 5-year-olds in New York City, lowering the required age for schooling by one year.
Proponents of the measure, which awaits the governor's approval, praised the move as a triumph for thousands of 5-year-olds who are from poor and minority families or have disabilities. Many of these children, they say, are often turned away each year by school officials on grounds of a lack of space and the lack of any requirement that they attend school.
"I think it is a real gain," Norm Fruchter, the senior policy analyst at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, a nonprofit educational research and policy group, said of the vote. "There is a ton of research about what early-childhood programs do for children, and I think there is a whole bunch of parents of children who, for a variety of reasons, don't register them when they should and then they lose out for a whole year."
Mr. Fruchter said children who miss kindergarten may never recover.
"You're entering behind a lot of the kids in terms of your skills and overall development," he said. "And it is particularly with things like familiarity with the alphabet and with letters and numbers and school routines."
In her State of the City address in February, the City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, trumpeted the idea of lowering the compulsory age of schooling to 5, from 6, as one of her prime educational initiatives.
If this becomes law, Ms. Quinn said, "the system could turn no child away."
"It stops the abuse of cherry-picking some 5-year-olds over other 5-year-olds," she said.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg backs the proposal. In a memo in support, his administration said that ensuring kindergarten for all 5-year-olds would "result in more students getting a strong start in their education."
There are 78,600 students enrolled in kindergarten in the city, a number that has steadily increased in recent years. But Ms. Quinn said that nearly 3,000 children enter first grade each year without having first gone to kindergarten, a figure her office said was based on an analysis of the city's Department of Education enrollment data for recent years.
The Democrat-led State Assembly passed the measure on June 4, and the Republican-led State Senate followed with a 59-to-1 vote on Thursday.
The bill now goes to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. He has 10 days, not counting Sundays, to sign or veto the bill before it automatically becomes law.
All that *reasoning* is complete bull$hit. The fact is....it's the young children who spend too much time AMONG OTHER CHILDREN in schools and in daycare are the ones who MAY NEVER RECOVER.
Why did the average 6 year old in 1950 have a 4,000 word vocabulary and yet today's average 6 year old only has a 1,000 word one???
Note how the reasoning is drenched in sympathy for the *poor*, i.e. class warfare. And note how even Republicans voted for this expansion of government.
Pre-school will be mandatory next. And the school year would be longer already if these government clowns weren't so fiscally irresponsible and beholden to the demands of lazy, unionized teachers.
"Give me the youth, and Germany will rule the World" - Adolf Hitler