Originally Sent: 8/11/2014
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AB 1444 Action Alert: Mandatory Kindergarten—Calls Urgently Needed
Joint Legislative Action Alert: August 11, 2014
From: Mike Smith, HSLDA and Roy Hanson, Family Protection Ministries
Bill: AB 1444 (as amended 4/22/14) Mandatory Kindergarten
Author: State Assemblymember Joan Buchanan
Position: Strongly oppose
Status: The Senate Appropriations Committee decided on June 30 to postpone the final committee vote on AB 1444 until August. The bill has been scheduled for a vote on August 14.
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. If AB 1444 were to pass, it would eliminate this current parental choice by mandating that every child attend kindergarten for one school year before they could be admitted to the 1st grade. This would go into effect at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year.
Under AB 1444, 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 AB 1444 would require 13 years of schooling rather than the current 12 years of required schooling.
The requirements of AB 1444 would apply to all pupils in both public schools and private schools, including homeschools.
Advocates of extending government control of all children from birth will be able to use passage of AB 1444 as a step toward establishing seamless, cradle-to-grave government-controlled education and development programs.
Passage of AB 1444 would be followed by the next legislative step—making institutionalized preschool (pre-kindergarten) for every 3- and 4-year-old child universally available to all children. Finally, the last step would be to make institutionalized preschool (pre-kindergarten) universally mandatory for every 3- and 4-year-old child.
Information Included in this Email:
A. Action Item
A. Action Item
Call immediately (no later than 4:00 p.m.—Wednesday, August 13) the member of the Senate Appropriations Committee according to the first letter of your last name as indicated in the alphabetized list below.
“Please vote no on AB 1444 as recently amended. I oppose mandatory kindergarten. Please keep kindergarten voluntary. This will have a negative financial impact on our state.”
For the action item above, please call the member of the Senate Appropriations Committee according to the first letter of your last name as indicated in the following list:
(If you would like, call as many people on this list as possible—especially if one of the members is your state senator. To find out who your state senator is, click here.)
B. Opposition Points
AB 1444 would damage children. Beginning formal education at age 5 or younger causes unintended harm to children, some of which can 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.
For the sake of your own children, every parent should read HSLDA’s Issues Library page on the topic.
AB 1444 would diminish the rights of all parents. Under AB 1444, parents who choose to delay their child’s entrance into kindergarten will be forced to undergo a time and financial penalty of adding a year of required schooling before graduation. Enrollment into kindergarten prior to the 1st grade must remain optional for parents.
AB 1444 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.
Rushing children into 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 moms and dads 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 1444 encroaches on the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children. It ignores the longstanding 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 best for his own child’s education and development. It is a detrimental one-size-fits-all program that would be forced upon all children by the government.
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