Lawmakers debate raising kindergarten starting age

Kindergarten (file)
Kindergarten (file)(Pexels)
Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 11:27 AM EDT
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - A bill up for discussion by lawmakers would raise the starting age for kindergarten in Connecticut.

House Bill 6880, “An Act Concerting Assorted Revisions and Additions to the Education Statutes,” would raise the starting age from 5 years old by Jan. 1 of an upcoming school year to 5 years old by Sept. 1.

The way things stand now, children can start kindergarten as early as 4.

Advocates for the new bill argued that it would allow children to enter school older and more prepared.

“This bill has many important provisions teachers have long advocated for including making sure children start kindergarten at age 5 and ensuring our youngest students can learn through developmentally appropriate, play-based strategies,” said Kate Dias, president, Connecticut Education Association.

The CEA said the bill would:

  • Require the incorporation of play-based learning in pre-K and kindergarten and permit it to be incorporated into grades 1 through 5.
  • Raise the kindergarten start age to age 5 by Sept. 1 rather than by Jan. 1.
  • Change the teacher evaluation and support program system by eliminating the assignment of four performance ratings, which enables an overhaul of teacher evaluation by the State Board of Education.
  • Prohibit edTPA from being used to determine qualifications for teacher certification.
  • Require school districts to conduct exit surveys of teachers who leave the district, including ascertaining why a teacher is leaving the district or the profession.
  • Align labor law affecting teachers with that pertaining to other public employees.
  • Extend flexibility for school district superintendents to allow teachers with elementary certification to also teach kindergarten.
  • Add paraprofessionals to professional development and evaluation committees and pupil personnel teams that address services for students who receive special education and also provide paras with professional development in social-emotional learning.

Take a look at how the bill is worded below: