Of the panoply of reforms now being implemented in California schools, the one affecting the state’s youngest public school students passed almost unnoticed this fall.

For the first time since the state enacted kindergarten legislation in 1891, California children have to be 5 years old by Sept. 1 to enroll in kindergarten.

The new cutoff date follows years of efforts in the state Legislature to move the date students were eligible for kindergarten to be in line with at least 20 other states with a Sept. 1 cutoff date. The others have earlier or later cutoff dates, or leave it up to local school districts to decide.

The Sept. 1 deadline for regular kindergarten has been welcomed by the California Kindergarten Association. “I think it’s a huge benefit to the children,” said association board member Michelle Jones. Having a smaller age spread in the class makes for a “more cohesive class,” and makes it more likely that when students enter kindergarten they will be ready to be “academically challenged,” she said.

Blunting the impact of the new deadline is California’s additional kindergarten year, called “transitional kindergarten,” for children whose 5th birthday falls somewhere between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2. These are children who were previously eligible to enroll in regular kindergarten even though they had not yet turned 5.  They can now attend transitional kindergarten, and then enroll in regular kindergarten the following year.

“The real issue is not what age you enter kindergarten, but what opportunities do children have academically and socially before they enter school,” said Deborah Stipek, an expert on early learning and a professor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Education.

However, the new age requirement has not settled the more complex question: Is a fixed cutoff date the best way to determine which children are ready for kindergarten? In fact, the minimum age for kindergarten has been a subject of considerable debate for more than a century. Over the years California lawmakers have tinkered with the kindergarten entry age at least nine times, according to a report by the California Research Bureau.

“The real issue is not what age you enter kindergarten, but what opportunities do children have academically and socially before they enter school,” said Deborah Stipek, an expert on early learning and Dean of Stanford’s Graduate School of Education.

Especially during the preschool years, there are significant developmental differences among children. Extensive research has shown that those differences are accentuated among children from low-income backgrounds, who are far more likely to lag behind their more affluent peers in their readiness for kindergarten.

For example, Stipek pointed to a major gap in language skills between children from poor and middle-income backgrounds as early as 18 months – a difference tied to a range of factors, including how much time parents or caregivers are able to read and talk to a child.

Over the past decade the number of kindergartners in California schools climbed by more than 50,000, an increase of about 10 percent of total kindergarten enrollments. The increase coincided with one of the biggest budget crises in California’s history, reinforcing calls dating back at least two decades to bring California’s deadline for kindergarten in line with those of other states. In 1992, for example, then-Gov. Pete Wilson triggered a hailstorm of protest when he proposed rolling back the start date to Sept. 1 in an effort to save the state $335 million.

The transitional kindergarten program came about as a result of legislation introduced four years ago by then-state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto – but not for budgetary reasons. Simitian, now a member of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, said the 2010 Kindergarten Readiness Act was motivated by concerns that regular kindergarten had become more challenging and had in effect become what some educators call “the new first grade.”

Simitian said there was “a consensus among educators and in the research literature that youngsters who turned 5 by Dec. 2 were too often a little young for 21st century kindergarten.”

A report by the Legislative Analyst’s Office at the time asserted that “data suggest children who are older tend to perform better on standardized tests… Taken together, this body of research suggests that changing the kindergarten entry age would be generally positive, with no overall negative effect on children’s academic achievement.”

The advantage of having younger kindergarten children in a separate classroom is clear to Jennifer Moless, a kindergarten teacher at Junipero Serra Elementary School in San Francisco. She said she had noticed that the younger children in her classroom struggled with all-day kindergarten: They needed nap time, help with going to the toilet and they had difficulty separating from their parents.

She feared that their lack of readiness would become even more of an issue with the introduction of the more demanding Common Core academic standards now being implemented in California schools.

The transitional kindergarten program – effectively an extra grade of public schooling offered free of charge to some 4-year-olds – was introduced gradually over the past three years, first in 2012-13 for children turning 5 in November, then in 2013-14 for those turning 5 in October, and this year for all those turning five after Sept. 1.

The state estimates that roughly 134,000 children have enrolled in transitional kindergarten this school year. 

The new Sept. 1 cutoff date for enrollment in regular kindergarten did not overly concern Megan Hooper, whose daughter Harlow turned 5 in October. That’s because she was eligible to enroll in a transitional kindergarten class, which she now attends at Baker Elementary School in San Jose.

One major attraction of transitional kindergarten is the financial relief it offers parents like herself, Hooper said. In her case, instead of having to pay $10,000 for another year of private preschool, she could enroll her daughter at no cost in a public school program. “It was a great deal,” she said.

In the transitional kindergarten class at Zaida T. Rodriguez Early Education School in San Francisco’s Mission district, consisting of 22 children whose birthdays fall between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2, there is a huge range in their abilities, said teacher Dayna Jean.

Half have never set foot in a preschool setting, many are English learners, and a few are way ahead of the curriculum Jean is teaching.

On a recent morning, Jean read a story about saving a beached whale to her students,  who squirmed or sat cross-legged on a carpet in front of her. “What rhymes with whale?” Jean called out exuberantly. The children yelled “snail” and “tail,” a response that’s part of the San Francisco Unified School District’s transitional kindergarten curriculum to teach rhyming words.

“I have some students who already know their whole alphabet, two students who can already count up to 100, some who are writing their first, middle and last name,” Jean said. At the other end of the spectrum, she said, “I have some who have never been to school before, have never written their name, and are just learning how to sit in their chair.”

Last year when she taught transitional kindergarten, Jean pulled together a small group of students who clearly were ready for learning well beyond the curriculum of the rest of the class, so they could thrive at their own pace. “I had one boy in transitional kindergarten last year who began at a first-grade reading level, and was reading at a third-grade level at the end of the year,” she said.

Her experience underscored the challenge of finding just the right fit for children at varying skill levels.

San Jose’s Megan Hooper said that her daughter’s transitional kindergarten class taught skills her daughter had already acquired in preschool. She said her daughter told her during the first week of school that she practiced writing her name – a skill she had acquired at the beginning of preschool the previous year.

Vivian Hong experienced the issue as both a teacher and a parent. Hong is a first-grade teacher at Junipero Serra Elementary School, and has twin children – a boy and a girl – who attended transitional kindergarten last year. Their birthday is Nov. 26.

She is not so sure a birthdate is the right way to determine when a student is ready for a particular grade. “For example, my daughter could have gone to first grade, but transitional kindergarten was good for my son, because he was a typical, rambunctious boy,” and not quite ready for a more structured kindergarten setting, she said.

While research shows that, in general, delaying entry to kindergarten results in improved academic performance later on, there are other variables that enter into the equation. A Rand Corporation study, for example, showed that delaying entrance to kindergarten “has a positive effect on test score gains in the early school years,” but that “the benefits … are even greater for children from poor families.”

At the same time, poor families who have to delay sending their children to kindergarten may end up with “huge additional child care costs” by having to pay for an extra year of preschool in lieu of a free year of kindergarten they may have been eligible for if their children had been born a few months earlier.

This story was updated on October 29 at 5:02 p.m. to indicate that Deborah Stipek is Dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Education. 

 

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  1. Andrea 3 months ago3 months ago

    For the 2016-2017 school year, if a child is enrolled in the TK expanded program because their birthday is after dec 2, does that mean the child would be in TK for 2 years? Please clarify.

  2. Cassandra 3 months ago3 months ago

    All-day kindergarten is not fair, plus my son gets a teacher who has only taught first grade so she’s not as nice. He refuses to go now when he was excited in the beginning.

  3. Alyssa 4 months ago4 months ago

    Is there any way to opt out of the TK program at all? My niece falls into the Sept.2–Dec. 2 birthday range and was thrown into a 4-5 year-old-preschool class and next year is supposed to do TK. My sister in law is not happy because she knows her daughter is not ready for that class. She is trying to put her in the 3-4 year-old-class and have her do that first, then the 4-5 … Read More

    Is there any way to opt out of the TK program at all? My niece falls into the Sept.2–Dec. 2 birthday range and was thrown into a 4-5 year-old-preschool class and next year is supposed to do TK. My sister in law is not happy because she knows her daughter is not ready for that class. She is trying to put her in the 3-4 year-old-class and have her do that first, then the 4-5 year-old-class, then kindergarten, but the state preschool is trying to say that’s not possible. We have found nowhere in the handbooks saying students can’t be put where their parents feel is best but maybe you could help? Looks like you may know a little more than us and we would be forever grateful!

  4. Amy tanner 4 months ago4 months ago

    I find it extremely wrong that many children get the opportunity to be more prepared for kindergarten and many get left behind.This should be something available to most if not all four year olds. I also find it offensive that (poor) families gain from this because they can't afford childcare or preschool. Most people have a hard time pulling in the money for preschool. My husband makes $100,000+ a year but we have four kids so … Read More

    I find it extremely wrong that many children get the opportunity to be more prepared for kindergarten and many get left behind.This should be something available to most if not all four year olds.
    I also find it offensive that (poor) families gain from this because they can’t afford childcare or preschool. Most people have a hard time pulling in the money for preschool. My husband makes $100,000+ a year but we have four kids so preschool is something that has caused financial strain for our family. More people would gladly help fund programs that everyone can gain from not just a small percentage of kids. Good idea but poorly put together.

  5. George 7 months ago7 months ago

    I strongly agree w/the posters who believe there should be testing offered for kids with birthdays fall between Sept 2 - Dec 1, whose kids don't need to be held back. I've got 2 grown children who would've fallen just on the wrong side of the new Sept 1st cut off, both of whom excelled both scholastically and socially. I'm fed up with legislators (and the administrative arm of the educators) and their … Read More

    I strongly agree w/the posters who believe there should be testing offered for kids with birthdays fall between Sept 2 – Dec 1, whose kids don’t need to be held back. I’ve got 2 grown children who would’ve fallen just on the wrong side of the new Sept 1st cut off, both of whom excelled both scholastically and socially. I’m fed up with legislators (and the administrative arm of the educators) and their “one size fits all” (aka “I know better than you”) approach. If a child is able to pass a minimum competency test, then it should be up to the parents if their Sept 2-Dec 1’st born child is ready for Kindergarten.

  6. Sanjana 10 months ago10 months ago

    Age should not be a factor, as my daughter turns 5 in October, but unfortunately cannot attend kindergarten. The TK students should have some kind of test to determine their level. I have been sending my daughter to pre-k school since she was 3 and at age 5 she is still going to do the same thing over and over again!

  7. keri Merendon 11 months ago11 months ago

    I think it's ridiculous that my son has to be a whole year behind because his birthday is the next day, September 2nd. I think children whose birthdays fall between the September 2 and December 1 should be tested to see where they should be placed! My son is very smart; he knows how to count to 25 already and knows his ABCs. He is currently learning how to write his name! I am … Read More

    I think it’s ridiculous that my son has to be a whole year behind because his birthday is the next day, September 2nd. I think children whose birthdays fall between the September 2 and December 1 should be tested to see where they should be placed! My son is very smart; he knows how to count to 25 already and knows his ABCs. He is currently learning how to write his name! I am very upset with this one day thing1

    Replies

    • Lynn 10 months ago10 months ago

      My daughter misses the kindergarten cutoff by one day also. Have you found any way around this?

    • Allison 9 months ago9 months ago

      The skills you mentioned, are actually skills that are taught in preschool. Most children coming into kindergarten already know how to write their name and count beyond 25. The expectations of kindergarten are far different and children are expected to be reading by the end of kindergarten.

    • Nicole 7 months ago7 months ago

      I’m having the same problem. My son turn 5 on Sept 2nd, I live in Florida. What can I do!!! I’m really upset.

  8. Paul Phillips 1 year ago1 year ago

    The thing most people do not understand is, the problem is not just a learning educational thing. When you have a child that starts to school say when they are after a deadline. They wind up being ahead of there peers but behind the kids they are attending class with. When it comes to social stature and laws when they become a teen, they are left behind. When you have a 15 year … Read More

    The thing most people do not understand is, the problem is not just a learning educational thing.
    When you have a child that starts to school say when they are after a deadline. They wind up being ahead of there peers but behind the kids they are attending class with. When it comes to social stature and laws when they become a teen, they are left behind. When you have a 15 year old junior in high school dating an 18 year old senior. Well then you have a grave issue. Most states call that statutory rape when things happen that should not but do. My advice is leave your child back. Better to be the smartest in class and one of the older ones, than one of the preyed upon victims of older kids when yours is doing nothing but just simply trying to fit in. This usually comes down to dollars and cents. Get my kid in school so I don’t have to pay for a baby sitter. The kids are the ones that suffer worse in middle school and especially high school when everyone is driving and they are 14 and a sophomore. It goes down hill from there, cause mom I just want to fit in! I am sorry I am pregnant! or in jail because they were just trying to fit in. Why do I know? Because I have lived it with a step daughter and watched my guidance counselor mother deal with it for years. She has two masters degrees and says all the time, why do you think I held my daughter “which is a bio-mathematical engineer with a masters” back. She was plenty smart enough to handle the lessons but not the pressures from older peers she would have been made to deal with.

  9. SD Parent 2 years ago2 years ago

    TK was a nice theory but doesn't work well. In reality, very few schools are large enough to have a full pre-K class, so guess where those "younger, not-quite-ready-for-kindergarten" kids are? In the same class as the kindergarteners, which is now a complicated TK/K combo rather than a K class with some younger students (who might or might not be ready for K). It's ridiculous, as this is no different than it … Read More

    TK was a nice theory but doesn’t work well. In reality, very few schools are large enough to have a full pre-K class, so guess where those “younger, not-quite-ready-for-kindergarten” kids are? In the same class as the kindergarteners, which is now a complicated TK/K combo rather than a K class with some younger students (who might or might not be ready for K). It’s ridiculous, as this is no different than it was–just that the expectations are now lower for the TK students, so the focus is on the K students. However, the end result is the same as it was before TK: those students who are ready for first grade move to first grade, and those who are not are held back in kindergarten. I fail to see how this is actually any different other than removing the “pressure” for the teacher to prepare the “younger” students.

    Since TK only serves a quarter of students with an extended year of preschool, that money would be better spent on all 4-year olds, giving all students access to some sort of a pre-K program, not just those born in Sept-Nov.

    Finally, if I had invested a nickel for every time my child’s kindergarten teacher called my child (with a September birthday) a “younger student” as a pejorative, I’d have amassed quite a college fund by now. This child is now a successful straight-A high school student in Advanced Placement and Honors classes. So as far as I’m concerned. the entire concept of slapping a label on a child–whether it’s TK, K, or “younger”–based on their birth date is a complete boondoggle. Some students are ready for school at 4; some are ready at 6. It’s what is best for each child, so let’s stop the label game and treat students as the individuals that they are.

    Replies

    • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

      Treating children as individuals has it's merits but overall, it is a mistake. Asian Americans expect every child they have to succeed, and this is why more do. They send 60% to Kindergarten prepared in math, reading and writing, as compares to just 16% of white kids and even lower percentages for other groups. Most children can thrive in Kindergarten if they are well parented and have high expectations. Pre-K can … Read More

      Treating children as individuals has it’s merits but overall, it is a mistake. Asian Americans expect every child they have to succeed, and this is why more do. They send 60% to Kindergarten prepared in math, reading and writing, as compares to just 16% of white kids and even lower percentages for other groups. Most children can thrive in Kindergarten if they are well parented and have high expectations. Pre-K can solve the Achievement Gap in starting Kindergarten between rich and poor, Asian and Latino/African American, etc. Every child should start Kindergarten having used flashcards to memorize the 110 sight words/frequency words, reading at a basic level, knowing shapes and colors and how to count to 100 and able to play well with other kids and do basic art projects.

      The every kid is different is kind of like the nine intelligences argument. There’s some truth to it but in general it is used as a cop out. My kid “isn’t the academic type” say some parents. How do you know? Did you drive them to their maximum potential, spend evenings and weekends working with them, get them tutors at a young age, turn off the TV and read to them and teach them to read, buy workbooks for them instead of XBoxes and Playstations?

      The fact that Asians are wiping the floor with whites in academic competition (over 3.5 times as likely to get into Cal or UCLA) is proof that a lot more kids could be great students than are. I don’t like the idea that we just shrug and say some kids are ready, some aren’t. We have to ask the more difficult question. Why are some ready and others not? It’s not genetic, or Asians couldn’t do so much better than whites as no racial intelligence difference has been proven, and what exists can be explained by health, drug use and income. We also have to ask, what can we do to learn from the parents of those kids who are ready and encourage all parents to be more like those parents?

      There’s more value in teaching young children under 5 that school is the most important thing and getting them to internalize pressure to succeed in school as well as learning basic skills which provide them an advantage which lasts a lifetime, than there is teaching this to pre-teen or teenage adolescents. We need to analyze who is ready for Kindergarten and why that is. It isn’t money, at least for the most part, because poor Asians outperform upper middle class whites. It’s character, focus, determination, and time spent.

      It also requires an open mind. We can’t just say, my race does best because even if I don’t know it consciously I was spoonfed a diet of white supremacy since birth. We have to be open minded enough to acknowledge when we’re being outperformed as parents and children, and make the necessary adjustments and changes. The survival of all Californians, 85% of whom are not Asian American, depends on emulating the performance leaders, not making lame excuses.

  10. Alan Guttman 2 years ago2 years ago

    The changing of the kindergarten cutoff age and the creation of a "transitional kindergarten" are both inadequate solutions to the true problem: the foisting of developmentally inappropriate curricula upon California's kindergarten children. Over the past 15 years, a curriculum more appropriate for 1st graders has been steadily and systematically pushed down into kindergarten classrooms by district administrators, school boards, and educational publishers who often know very little about developmentally appropriate early childhood curricula, classroom environments, … Read More

    The changing of the kindergarten cutoff age and the creation of a “transitional kindergarten” are both inadequate solutions to the true problem: the foisting of developmentally inappropriate curricula upon California’s kindergarten children. Over the past 15 years, a curriculum more appropriate for 1st graders has been steadily and systematically pushed down into kindergarten classrooms by district administrators, school boards, and educational publishers who often know very little about developmentally appropriate early childhood curricula, classroom environments, and instructional practice. All of California’s children who are eligible for public school kindergarten would be better served by reevaluating kindergarten curricula and early childhood teacher qualifications throughout the state and by aligning kindergarten practice to what research tells us about how five- and six-year-olds learn best.

    Replies

    • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

      Alan, expert opinion on what Kindergarteners are capable of is in fact far from expert. It is based on our misguided anti-intellectual culture which expects less of children than European or Asian nations leaving us in the dust. I hear constantly from people that young kids aren't ready to read, memorize things, learn mash, learn from flashcards, etc. However this is false. Consider this. In California, 60% of Asian American children start … Read More

      Alan, expert opinion on what Kindergarteners are capable of is in fact far from expert. It is based on our misguided anti-intellectual culture which expects less of children than European or Asian nations leaving us in the dust. I hear constantly from people that young kids aren’t ready to read, memorize things, learn mash, learn from flashcards, etc. However this is false.

      Consider this. In California, 60% of Asian American children start kindergarten knowing basic reading, the sight words, counting to 100, etc. Only 16% of whites do. This head start lasts and instills a sense that school is very important. By ages 11-17, Asian American kids study 13.8 hours a week vs. 5.6 for whites. Then 33.5% qualify for UCs, vs. 8.7% of whites now and under 7% of white boys vs. nearly 30% of Asian boys. We are too soft on our kids and we pay the price later. These figures would be even stronger if focused on Chinese, Indian and Korean Americans, as the Asian American umbrella includes some groups who are roughly equivalent to lower performing whites, Filipinos, Vietnamese, Hmongs all slightly outperform whites, but not by much.

      This proves what is possible. If we hold our kindergarteners to a higher level of expectation and require a stronger effort, we will close the achievement gap and have a better future. I don’t believe, personally, this is genetic. I believe we have a culture which doesn’t challenge kids or expect much and lets them watch 40 hours of TV and games while complaining, if anyone suggests parents spend more time studying with young children, that it will crowd out sports, creative play, museums and arts, all of which are enriching but all of which can be included in a well-raised child’s schedule. It’s TV and games that crowds out learning, not the other things, but people bring up the more noble things to argue for the status quo.

      Asian Americans have proved children are capable of a lot more than most of us think. This is why their performance is ignored by most adherents of the status quo. You will claim asking more of kindergarteners is disproved by science somehow, but then ignore the 60%, 13.8, 33.5, higher income, lower suicide rate and higher levels of wealth and happiness among Asian Americans resulting from higher expectations from a young age.

      • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

        Did you just write off in one fell swoop all expert opinion as inexpert, the research of which you clearly never read, and then have the unmitigated audacity to call IT anti-intellectual?

        Do you ever tired of repeating hour by hour, day by day, week by week the same tired old statistics that you have no source for and which do nothing to prove anything except that you are nothing but an overstuffed bag of hot air?

        • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

          I've emailed you all the proof and you choose to ignore it. I don't believe that Kindergarteners are not ready to read. I believe telling them they're too young instills bad habits and excuses. Can you explain, if it is impossible for 4-year olds to learn, why some ethnic groups have them prepared at 60%? How is this possible, if whites are at 16% and Asians at 60, that's a 44 … Read More

          I’ve emailed you all the proof and you choose to ignore it. I don’t believe that Kindergarteners are not ready to read. I believe telling them they’re too young instills bad habits and excuses. Can you explain, if it is impossible for 4-year olds to learn, why some ethnic groups have them prepared at 60%? How is this possible, if whites are at 16% and Asians at 60, that’s a 44 point swing. Surely some Asians are recent immigrants or not the best parents. Maybe some couldn’t, but at least some are not great parents, so if 60% are prepared, surely at least 80 could be.

          You have a habit of not processing information which is not convenient. I’ve sent you the proof of this but you dismissed it. I’ll send it again if you honestly haven’t seen it.

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            Go take a class in child development.

            Your idea of proof as anything anybody says that you agree with.

    • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

      Don, review... http://www.psmag.com/navigation/books-and-culture/asian-american-parenting-and-academic-success-26053/ "Parents shouldn’t start training children too young — the seedling has to sprout — but early habits will dominate, goes the common conviction. That’s why 60 percent of Asian-American parents in one study by Michigan State University education professor Barbara Schneider taught their preschoolers basic reading, writing and math, hoping also to imbue them with perseverance, concentration and focus. In contrast, 16 percent of whites surveyed taught their preschoolers those basic skills. Many explained that … Read More

      Don, review…

      http://www.psmag.com/navigation/books-and-culture/asian-american-parenting-and-academic-success-26053/

      “Parents shouldn’t start training children too young — the seedling has to sprout — but early habits will dominate, goes the common conviction. That’s why 60 percent of Asian-American parents in one study by Michigan State University education professor Barbara Schneider taught their preschoolers basic reading, writing and math, hoping also to imbue them with perseverance, concentration and focus.

      In contrast, 16 percent of whites surveyed taught their preschoolers those basic skills. Many explained that they didn’t want to push academics on their preschoolers because they worried about “baby burnout” — squelching their toddlers’ motivation with too-early teaching.”

      • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

        “Dr. Louisa Moats, one of the few early childhood experts on the team that wrote the literacy standards, is now an outspoken critic because the Common Core standards disregard decades of research on early reading development.”

        Answer Sheet “The Four Flimflams” by Carol Burris.

        Great article that helps to deconstruct Common Core.

  11. Eric Premack 2 years ago2 years ago

    It would be interesting to explore the cost-effectiveness of Pre-Kindergarten versus other forms of preschool. Pre-K is funded through the Local Control Funding Formula, at relatively high rates, and is subject to the extensive and growing ball of red tape that governs the rest of the traditional K-12 system, including the ridiculous 5,000+ page Education Code. This year, the state heaped-on additional teacher training requirements that will be phased-in over the next several … Read More

    It would be interesting to explore the cost-effectiveness of Pre-Kindergarten versus other forms of preschool. Pre-K is funded through the Local Control Funding Formula, at relatively high rates, and is subject to the extensive and growing ball of red tape that governs the rest of the traditional K-12 system, including the ridiculous 5,000+ page Education Code. This year, the state heaped-on additional teacher training requirements that will be phased-in over the next several years.

    What could California do if it took those funds and allocated them through some other mechanism, perhaps the state preschool or childcare programs or other means? I wonder if we might be able to afford universal preschool for all?

    A few years back, Governor Brown proposed repealing the program, but was hounded back by Pre-K advocates. It will be interesting to see if he has the chutzpah to take the issue up again this coming year when he no longer needs to worry about their support at the ballot box and is more free to pursue good policy.

  12. Paula Campbell 2 years ago2 years ago

    It makes no sense to me, now that the transition phase is over, that some children have a year of transitional kindergarten and some do not. If it is advisable for some, it should be available to all.

    Replies

    • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

      The reason is that the effort started out as a cost-saving measure: TK wasn't going to be offered originally, instead the goal was simply to reduce the number of children eligible for kinder. However, after some outcry, the change was to some extent 'undone' by filling the gap with TK, ironically creating a full additional public school year for about a third of kids (sometimes referred to as the first year of a two-year kindergarten … Read More

      The reason is that the effort started out as a cost-saving measure: TK wasn’t going to be offered originally, instead the goal was simply to reduce the number of children eligible for kinder. However, after some outcry, the change was to some extent ‘undone’ by filling the gap with TK, ironically creating a full additional public school year for about a third of kids (sometimes referred to as the first year of a two-year kindergarten program).
      So it wasn’t really ‘planned’ this way, instead was implemented in steps and as a side-effect of political give and take ended up looking like it does now.
      Note also that both TK and K are still optional. As a result, the law also changed the entry age for 1st grade. 🙂

  13. Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

    Since the topic of early childhood education and Kindergarten is at hand, here’s something to think about from a recent NY Times article: Excerpted from NY Times 9/4/14 Gina Bellafante "A long-term study by the HighScope Foundation, an educational research group, compared the outcomes for at-risk, economically disadvantaged 3- and 4-year-olds randomly assigned to different preschool groups deploying different types of curriculum. By age 15, those who had more progressive preschool instruction reported half as much delinquency as … Read More

    Since the topic of early childhood education and Kindergarten is at hand, here’s something to think about from a recent NY Times article:

    Excerpted from NY Times 9/4/14
    Gina Bellafante

    “A long-term study by the HighScope Foundation, an educational research group, compared the outcomes for at-risk, economically disadvantaged 3- and 4-year-olds randomly assigned to different preschool groups deploying different types of curriculum. By age 15, those who had more progressive preschool instruction reported half as much delinquency as those who had received more conventionally rigorous academic training. By 23, those who had been taught according to a more child-centric paradigm demonstrated fewer felony arrests, less emotional impairment and more aspiration to higher learning. The study’s sample size of 68 children was small, however.

    How the city’s educators will cultivate an environment of thrilling, digressive learning while aiming to reduce the enormous word deficits many children come to school with and at the same time keep the tensions and pressures of high-stakes testing from filtering down to the world of tiny people with Pixar lunchboxes remains one of the most significant and least explored questions around the expansion of prekindergarten. How they will nurture the distinct kind of teaching skill required to execute play-based learning successfully is yet another.”

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  15. sherman garnett 2 years ago2 years ago

    Your article was very well researched and thoughtful.
    However, you missed one component of the law. Ed code 48000 also states that a student who has attained the age of five at any time during the school year may be admitted to kindergarten on a case by case basis.
    In other words, students who are well beyond transitional kindergarten levels and do not meet the age criteria can be admitted to a regular kindergarten class. Thank you.

    Replies

    • sandra 2 years ago2 years ago

      Thank you for sharing that information. My daughter will be 5 on 09/09 meaning she misses this arbitrary deadline by a little over a week. She has already been in PreK for two years. I will fight this to the Governor if I have to. I was born in late September and my husband was as well. We went to college at 17 (for a few weeks) and we both did very … Read More

      Thank you for sharing that information. My daughter will be 5 on 09/09 meaning she misses this arbitrary deadline by a little over a week. She has already been in PreK for two years. I will fight this to the Governor if I have to. I was born in late September and my husband was as well. We went to college at 17 (for a few weeks) and we both did very well. We have graduate degrees and gasp were not emotionally unprepared in high school. I think this is actually better for young kids – younger kids will be pulled up to strive to keep up with the ‘older’ kids. I actually am more worried about a 18 turning 19 year old in high school who I have no legal-hold over.

      • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

        As you earn nearly double with a degree, vs. just high school, for many it is a good idea to wait. However, if you know your daughter is prepared and reading and ready for kindergarten, that should be your decision. Each case is unique.

  16. Kenneth N Hansen, Ph.D. 2 years ago2 years ago

    I found this article very informative. Thanks! Is it any surprise that the motive behind the new policy is driven by standardized testing? We’ll have generations of kids who can take tests, but do nothing else. 🙁

    Replies

    • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

      Yes but before the testing, we were wallowing, falling behind the world. We need testing to keep people honest, motivate parents to do extra work with their kids on weekends and evenings instead of wasting time, motivate teachers and keep kids honest and working hard. Tests reflect knowledge and ability. They are a good thing. The SAT test is a morally neutral measure of human goodness. Why? Grades can … Read More

      Yes but before the testing, we were wallowing, falling behind the world. We need testing to keep people honest, motivate parents to do extra work with their kids on weekends and evenings instead of wasting time, motivate teachers and keep kids honest and working hard. Tests reflect knowledge and ability. They are a good thing. The SAT test is a morally neutral measure of human goodness. Why? Grades can be fake, an easy school vs. a hard one, but the SAT is kind of like Santa Claus, constantly watching. It’s the result of TV vs. reading, study vs. goofball, paying attention in class. It shows how moral your behavior is, plus that of your parents, over an entire childhood.

      • TheMorrigan 2 years ago2 years ago

        We’ve had annual summative testing for some now.

        Are we even close to not wallowing any more?

        Is the solution to do more of the same?

        • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

          We've never truly embraced testing and got behind the idea of focused parenting and reading over TV/games to improve reading comprehension and extra math. It's been voted on and politicians support it and a few experts, but every Secretary of Education has been attacked and criticized and harassed, even ones with solid liberal credentials coming into the job but whom the union leaders expected to just become passive adherents to the failed status quo … Read More

          We’ve never truly embraced testing and got behind the idea of focused parenting and reading over TV/games to improve reading comprehension and extra math. It’s been voted on and politicians support it and a few experts, but every Secretary of Education has been attacked and criticized and harassed, even ones with solid liberal credentials coming into the job but whom the union leaders expected to just become passive adherents to the failed status quo once they took over. We’ve never made it a priority as a nation, never had a war on ignorance. We never had a war on the pathetic habits of the average American child who studies and reads under 6 hours a week while spending over 40 playing games and watching TV. We’ve never had a war on poor parenting, with only 16% of white parents preparing their children for kindergarten (60% of Asians) and insisted universal Pre-K involve at least a couple hours a day focus on flashcards and skills. I’m nervous we’ll get Pre-K but nothing will change as it will just end up being play time.

          To claim we’ve done this is laughable. Ever since we had increased testing, all you hear is sour grapes, and with common core we aren’t unified either. If we want to solve the International Education problem of the U.S., we have to unify. We have to provide tutoring to all children with poor parents or parents who don’t speak English. We have to provide Summer School to all those who are doing poorly, but most of all we have to create a culture where bringing your kid to Kindergarten with no reading or math ability so you could watch a bunch of shows is unacceptable.

          We have to create a culture where all parents put education first and make an effort to stay together and spend time they spend starting new relationships studying with their children, teaching them. We have to create a culture where every parent buys test prep books and goes through them with their kids every year and we all work together to make the tests relevant and accurate, not nitpick them to death on technicalities. There are volunteer committees on these tests. All I hear is this question is unfair because X, then join the committee. These are honest hardworking and diligent people trying to make the best test they can, but we harangue them and make them nervous and uncomfortable.

          I’d like to see what America could do if we got behind the idea that every parent and family should make education a top priority and maximize testing results. We could achieve amazing things and we’ve never even come close.

          • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

            When charters try to require weekends, Summer school, and contracts to change home life to achieve more people on here like Caroline act like that’s wrong, requiring poor and failing families to maximize effort to end their poverty.

          • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

            A child has nothing to connect to other than the test itself unless she also has a life. That’s not education.

          • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

            Navigio, the stereotype that kids who do well on tests "have no life" or are uncool is one of the most damaging factors in our educational under performance. Here we lionize Super Bowl MVPs and Academy Award and Grammy Award Winners, but no one pays much attention to winners of Pulitzer Prizes, Nobel Prizes, spelling bees, etc. A book entitled 'The Perfect Score' demonstrated that kids with perfect SAT scores, about 600 per … Read More

            Navigio, the stereotype that kids who do well on tests “have no life” or are uncool is one of the most damaging factors in our educational under performance. Here we lionize Super Bowl MVPs and Academy Award and Grammy Award Winners, but no one pays much attention to winners of Pulitzer Prizes, Nobel Prizes, spelling bees, etc. A book entitled ‘The Perfect Score’ demonstrated that kids with perfect SAT scores, about 600 per year, spend time with friends, dating and socializing as much as kids with average scores, in fact slightly more. What they do less of is watch TV (under 7 hours) and play video games. How are your comments designed to improve performance? Let’s make the kids who get top scores feel bad that they have no life and imply that somehow the kids with bad scores are just as good as them, everyone gets a trophy, and that their achievement means nothing. Let’s assume the kids with worst scores are somehow better at the other 8 of 9 intelligences, that the kid who got a great test score is nerdy and uncool and the ones who didn’t are wonderful because they have great spatio-balance and emotional intelligence (the 9 intelligences theory has never been proven, not even close). Let’s take groups who overperform like Asians and move away from them (Cupertino, San Ramon, Fremont, San Francisco) in a new wave of white flight and not give credit to the only group who does well in poverty and assert they are less happy (disproven) and they commit more suicide (Asians commit less suicide than whites per capita but I hear this a lot, suicides as a result of pressure).

            We’re never going to get towards the top on educational comparisons until we respect those who work hard and excel in school. In Europe and Asia, people don’t assume good students don’t “have a life”. Education requires effort.

            It sounds like you want to “educate” to socialism. Or maybe it’s the opposite. If people just do the basics and no one really works hard, those with college educated mothers and a high income will do fine, but those without educated parents will for the most part be in low wage jobs. Essentially the only group who does OK without extra effort is the most advantaged with the most connections. So if we make fun of anyone who excels in school and make them feel like a nerd, voila, we maintain the current caste structure with less class mobility than Europe and Asia and all the upper middle class people on this board will see their kids make it there. Hence the resentment of anyone who puts in extra effort to master a test and stereotyping them as not “having a life”. So poor kids should “have a life” according to you and consign themselves to poverty, so that you will think they’re cool?

            Is watching TV and playing video games 40 hours a week having a great life? I see it as lazy and something which needs to be changed to end poverty.

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            Floyd never talks about curriculum or pedagogy, crucially important aspects of delivering a well-rounded humanities-based liberal arts education to a wide range of society whose students have different instructional needs. Education is much more than a test. Public education's promise to society cannot be fulfilled with a one-size-fits-all approach. The nose-to-the-grindstone labor he calls education is not about how to lift up the human spirit, but all about the prosaic consideration of getting a … Read More

            Floyd never talks about curriculum or pedagogy, crucially important aspects of delivering a well-rounded humanities-based liberal arts education to a wide range of society whose students have different instructional needs. Education is much more than a test. Public education’s promise to society cannot be fulfilled with a one-size-fits-all approach. The nose-to-the-grindstone labor he calls education is not about how to lift up the human spirit, but all about the prosaic consideration of getting a better job and earning more money. And even that “benefit” is questionable given today’s demand for people who can do more than regurgitate information and test well. In Floyd’s crushingly disciplinarian educational model, being smart is all about testing, studying and testing again. He never makes mention of the intrinsic benefits of being an educated person, the love of reading and learning, good citizenship, community service and the enrichment that education provides in the life of an individual and the family. His coin of the realm is the monetary reward that has statistical correlation with test scores or the converse – the relationship of reading to prison populations. Numbers tell his story.

            Reasonable people don’t devalue the benefits of hard work and discipline, but they also don’t imagine that test scores are the measure of what hard work and discipline is all about. They acknowledge the fact of life that some will have to work harder to overcome the obstacles of society’s overwrought foot race while helping them to get a leg up. Educators understand that children need love and encouragement in the face of adversity and that thehuman condition is not nurtured through the drill and kill test regimen that Floyd prescribes. Floyd and the Floyds of the world wants to assign you a number, create a scale, compare outcomes and deliver dismissal notices in one fell swoop. No test developers contend tests make people better as Floyd contends when he says, to our amusement and awe, that tests are a measure of moral human goodness. When properly applied they are inexact but useful tools at best . Really, you’d have to be crazy to think standardized tests are a measure of moral goodness. Those who display the discipline and obedience required of Floyd’s narrowly defined test-driven intellect comprise the brave new world of functional automatons beholden to a master race who wants to tell us what it means to be knowledgeable.

          • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

            I often talk of how uplifting education is in general and how it makes for better Citizens. In a recent post, I stated better education would leave to better voter turnout, which would lead to higher minimum wage and more progressive taxes. If everyone voted, the rich wouldn't have been able to get away with claiming 95% of the increase in GDP since 2008, and they did claim it, the 1% makes most … Read More

            I often talk of how uplifting education is in general and how it makes for better Citizens. In a recent post, I stated better education would leave to better voter turnout, which would lead to higher minimum wage and more progressive taxes. If everyone voted, the rich wouldn’t have been able to get away with claiming 95% of the increase in GDP since 2008, and they did claim it, the 1% makes most decisions on whether or not big companies should outsource, who should get a raise and who shouldn’t, etc. They set the salaries. They decided they deserved 19 in 20 dollars added to GDP. They get away with this because many poor people don’t have a good education and don’t bother to vote. I also love literature and knowledge. I also see education as a way to get out of poverty. The truth is, the more you read the better you do. This means reading a wide variety of intellectuals, mostly very progressive, of different races and religions and time periods and cultures. You actually expose yourself to ideas and become more broad while improving your test scores. The idea that there is a choice of either A. narrowly study boring things to do well on a test and B. read literature and try to gain knowledge, is false. Being intellectual makes you test better which is why so many of the new filmmakers and authors are Asian, as so many were Jewish a couple generations ago.

            Also, morally neutral means that it doesn’t show how moral you are, but is free of opinion and scientific. A test score reveals your work ethic. You can be of any religion or none, home schooled, in a great school, or in a horrible school. It measures your work ethic, which is why Asians in schools most whites consider horrific and won’t consider, such as Kennedy in Richmond or Oakland Tech. or Marshall, outperform whites in Marin County schools of much higher income. It doesn’t care where you come from. It cares what’s in your heart. It cares what effort you put in. That’s what morally neutral means. People have opinions but this supercedes that. It creates opportunity for students who are not in the in crowd, not connected, not admired, just as it did in ancient China. Navigio can call you a “nerd” with “no life” for getting a good test score, but colleges will respect it and no one can ever take it away from you.

          • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

            association fallacy!
            ad hominem fallacy!
            reductio ad stalinum!

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            After all my education I may only be a new teacher with $100K in college loans and a $40,000 a year salary, but, hey, they can never take my test scores away from me! This social contract stinks!

          • el 2 years ago2 years ago

            Floyd, the comments about charters being able to require summer school, weekends, and other extra commitments from families are made usually to make two points: 1. Traditional public schools are not legally able to compel such compliance. 2. It is a factor in which parents choose those charters - IE parents unwilling or unable to comply do not choose them - which means that the populations are not directly comparable. As another point that is not usually added, … Read More

            Floyd, the comments about charters being able to require summer school, weekends, and other extra commitments from families are made usually to make two points:

            1. Traditional public schools are not legally able to compel such compliance.

            2. It is a factor in which parents choose those charters – IE parents unwilling or unable to comply do not choose them – which means that the populations are not directly comparable.

            As another point that is not usually added, well-off families also prefer not to commit to such schedules, if for no other reason than that they want to choose out of school enrichment for their kids like family travel, summer camp, sports, or other specialized activity. But these are usually not kids targeted as ‘failing.’

          • el 2 years ago2 years ago

            So Floyd, I have a question for you. Let's suppose that every parent in America did as you said, and every student in America scored a raw score that was equivalent to last year's 700+/800 on every section. Let's say that happened. (Note: 700 is a 95th percentile score for 2012) How would that work out? Would College Board be willing to assign the same scaled score when it totally messed up their percentile chart? Would colleges continue … Read More

            So Floyd, I have a question for you.

            Let’s suppose that every parent in America did as you said, and every student in America scored a raw score that was equivalent to last year’s 700+/800 on every section. Let’s say that happened.

            (Note: 700 is a 95th percentile score for 2012)

            How would that work out? Would College Board be willing to assign the same scaled score when it totally messed up their percentile chart? Would colleges continue to find the SAT scores useful? Would education officials celebrate that all our 18 year olds (and the associated cohort) had met the same high standard, and be content that we’d finally nailed this education thing? What would happen to the “losers” who “only” scored 700, now at only the tenth percentile?

            When I do this thought experiment… I don’t think this is an arms race that can be won the way we are pretending it can be. We simultaneously build a system that depends on measuring differentiation of the end result while being angry when we find it.

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            I can sum up Floyd's stark vision in a few words. National standards are good and standardized tests are good, whether or not the national standards are good and the standardized tests are good. Oh, and some teachers are bad and principals are good. It's all good...and bad. El, I don't believe there's anything in the Ed Code that prevents a school from having a year round schedule. The limiting factor is money. I'm curious if … Read More

            I can sum up Floyd’s stark vision in a few words. National standards are good and standardized tests are good, whether or not the national standards are good and the standardized tests are good. Oh, and some teachers are bad and principals are good. It’s all good…and bad.

            El, I don’t believe there’s anything in the Ed Code that prevents a school from having a year round schedule. The limiting factor is money. I’m curious if you know differently. SFUSD has a year round traditional school, but no year round charters.

          • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

            El, I think we would be a very rich country if that happened and studies show people who are below average income yet educated vote very progressively, the reason for the contradictory voting triangle of more educated/more liberal, more income/less liberal and more education/higher income evident in all elections. We'd have a higher minimum wage, universal healthcare and more progressive taxes, like nations with higher results. We'd also have lower social costs such … Read More

            El, I think we would be a very rich country if that happened and studies show people who are below average income yet educated vote very progressively, the reason for the contradictory voting triangle of more educated/more liberal, more income/less liberal and more education/higher income evident in all elections. We’d have a higher minimum wage, universal healthcare and more progressive taxes, like nations with higher results. We’d also have lower social costs such as prison. We’d have more freedom and fewer people in prison for victimless crimes. We’d have higher incomes and people would be more efficient at their jobs. You’ll never get a nation with 100% compliance and some people are disabled or unable to do well, but if you drastically reduced that population to only those who are genetically handicapped or of low IQ, you could spend more per person who is disadvantaged. Most who are unemployable in the U.S. could have been successful with a good upbringing. I don’t believe Foster Children or African Americans are any different from Asian Americans or rich kids genetically, yet they do very poorly in life. I believe many who prefer the status quo don’t wish to see true solutions and meritocracy because it would change the caste nature of our society in which the well off with educated mothers prosper. The current system will do well if connections remain more important than effort. Asian Americans are seen as a threat to this which is why whites, who expended tremendous energy in white flight to avoid African American and Latino schools in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, now spend tremendous energy moving away from Asian immigration such as in Cupertino, San Ramon, Sunnyvale, San Francisco and Fremont, among other Cities, more recently Orange County. They want a world where being born upper middle class and white carries a guarantee of prosperity. Changing seniority and driving Latino, African American and poor whites to join Asians and other immigrants in achieving their potential and being intellectual, active, educated Citizens would put the prosperity of the privileged at risk, which is why no one complains that Asian Americans have a quota in the Ivy Leagues at about 18% and this hasn’t changed over 25 years in which their percentage in the population has nearly doubled, as once happened with Jewish Americans.

            We have real world examples of nations with much higher minimum educational achievement and much higher overall, and these nations have not collapsed. Australia, Denmark, Luxembourg, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Taiwan, Singapore, New Zealand, just to name a few. These nations have higher happiness and some have higher incomes than we do. The only drawback is the birth rate may get unsustainably low, which should be avoided if possible. Overall these are all nations pretty equal to the U.S. if not better in some ways. I don’t think it would be a disaster El.

          • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

            Incorrect. People who are hesitant and unwilling to apply “reforms” they see as inappropriate and even damaging do not do so because they want to maintain inequality and a caste society.

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            Floyd’s admonitory advice to those he considers racists (mainly white parents who avoid integrated schools) is not consistent with his own actions as a parent. He chooses to press for his own children to attend the single most elite school in San Francisco that is also one of the least integrated. It is common for preachy loudmouths to be the biggest hypocrites.
            If only the Floyd’s of the world would do as they say and not as they do.

          • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

            Lowell provides an opportunity for all to attend, whether or not they take it is up to them. My kids actually make Lowell more diverse, something Don forgets. I support integrating schools by limiting attending West Side schools to those who are truly disadvantaged, while the current system allows East Siders who are upper middle class and white and Asian to use a gimmick to get into West Side schools, the algorithm trick. … Read More

            Lowell provides an opportunity for all to attend, whether or not they take it is up to them. My kids actually make Lowell more diverse, something Don forgets. I support integrating schools by limiting attending West Side schools to those who are truly disadvantaged, while the current system allows East Siders who are upper middle class and white and Asian to use a gimmick to get into West Side schools, the algorithm trick. It really advantages them because if you know the tricks, you can get in and parents for public schools advises those who are connected enough to come to events they put on how to do so. If you said you had to actually be poor (food stamps, free/reduced lunch, public housing) and in CTIP1, you’d reduce the # and be able to offer a neighborhood school to all while simultaneously sending a significant number of well heeled residents to schools they are not far from but which have very few of them.

            I also support creating more awareness of the standards of Lowell and offering more opportunity. I’d support making Lowell admissions entirely by test and offering free test prep to all who desire it, as they did in New York City and Boston for the 6 magnet schools and Boston Latin and encourage the disadvantaged to come to these courses and do extra work with qualified tutors. This would integrate the school more but also not have the problem when I went there as well as to Cal, of building up many L and AA students and then having quite a few leave by flunking out or dibeing discouraged and leaving. I believe in neighborhood schools with capacity building and gerrymandering to create integration, and this is what SF did before 1999. I grew up in such a system and went to a very integrated school on the West Side. Don constantly encourages me to sign up for a school on the East Side, but Don, honestly, if I’d done that I’d probably be out of SF by now, the 6k in travel costs inherent in such an action would have pushed me into not making mortgage payments and into bankrupcy, as it has been close. Nevertheless Don periodically gets ad hominem and tries to censore me by saying I have no right to talk about social justice unless I immediately put my kids in a school costing me huge money and time and far from home.

            This is an old fashioned means of censorship and limitation. It reduces those who can speak out. No one who drives a car can fight for the bullet train. No one without kids in a highly diverse school far from home can speak out for integration, even though nearly all schools in California aren’t integrated.

            Lowell is a school open to all and I’ve caused it to be more integrated, not less. I’ve also caused the local schools to be more integrated. I do want the schools to allow locals for environmental reasons and have busing to cause integration.

            Without Lowell many middle schoolers would not work as hard and we would not be as high performing.

            Caste is a deep issue, with many elements we must work on.

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            Floyd, you can do every dance and make every excuse but it still does not explain why, though you have every opportunity, you refuse to have your children attend the under performing and heavily black and Latino schools that you complain other families refuse to attend. We know each other. I know that you press to get your kids into Lowell because it is a good school. That's the same reason why … Read More

            Floyd, you can do every dance and make every excuse but it still does not explain why, though you have every opportunity, you refuse to have your children attend the under performing and heavily black and Latino schools that you complain other families refuse to attend. We know each other. I know that you press to get your kids into Lowell because it is a good school. That’s the same reason why other people choose to attend some schools over others. The only difference is that you are calling them racist for doing what you do. This phony excuse that you are helping to integrate one of the best schools in America is utter garbage. You are a white man and your children are growing up in an upper middle class neighborhood. If you want to do your duty as you describe it to others, send your kids to school where their high performance will help to lift up the school. Otherwise, zip it.

          • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

            The key part of your piece is "zip it". You know that under 10% of whites in the state have kids in schools over 30% black and Latino, which is half the state percentage. Therefore you can make over 90% "zip it" and it becomes a non-issue no one discusses. You don't believe isolation is a problem so you want no one to talk about it. It's no different from when … Read More

            The key part of your piece is “zip it”. You know that under 10% of whites in the state have kids in schools over 30% black and Latino, which is half the state percentage. Therefore you can make over 90% “zip it” and it becomes a non-issue no one discusses. You don’t believe isolation is a problem so you want no one to talk about it. It’s no different from when some claim no one who drives a car can support a gas tax to pay for a bullet train. You take a large chunk of people and force them to “zip it”. “Zip it” is a great way of saying it, it sums it up perfectly. In fact, in 1984, Orwell would have proposed reducing it to one word for simplicity. Everyone, “zipit”.

            It doesn’t really matter if a white person even does what you propose. Jimmy Carter did and was President, and everyone ignored it and due to a conspiracy in the desert, he was essentially told to “zipit”. No one else has tried to lead on this since, but when Jimmy Carter did, even though he followed it, he was nevertheless told he must “zipit”.

            I’ve also asked you to leave my personal life out of it. No one cares where our kids go to school. This is a political debate. Any mention of personal situations is a fallacy ad hominem anyways. I know people who have kids in private schools who feel bad about it and wish private schools didn’t exist, but in their opinion since everyone else does it, they have no choice. I don’t agree with them, but they feel that way. I know lots of people who oppose zoning for chains but have been to a chain in the past year. Cutting off debate this way is always an ad hominem fallacy and very Orwellian.

            Don, you pride yourself on being a very intellectual graduate of UC Berkeley, America’s top public University. If you are a great debater, you should be able to argue your point without resorting to gimmicks and fallacies.

            If you feel we should not be concerned with segregation at all, argue that point. Prove it doesn’t hurt black and Latino kids. And by current law, half Latinos, and my kids do have a mother who was not a college graduate and ran past the border with one AA, adopted and disadvantaged, so statistically I am integrating the schools. I did fight for your right to send your kids to neighborhood schools also, but what I don’t support is those right near a diverse school considering it unthinkable.

            Let’s stick to the point. Let’s not be Orwellian.

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            I’m saying zip it not because I’m trying to stifle dialogue on important issues, but because your views are steeped in ignorance. Save yourself the embarrassment.

        • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

          The ultimate "test" of how well the K-12 education system works is what happens after kids exit K-12. Our kids, for decades now, have gone on to continue education at the highest ranked university system in the world. A good part of that "ranking" is the effort put in by those from other areas in the world to get into that university system. Other kids go on to join the most competitive and most productive … Read More

          The ultimate “test” of how well the K-12 education system works is what happens after kids exit K-12. Our kids, for decades now, have gone on to continue education at the highest ranked university system in the world. A good part of that “ranking” is the effort put in by those from other areas in the world to get into that university system. Other kids go on to join the most competitive and most productive workforce in the world. In “real world” terms the K-12 system does not have a bad record.

          To the extent the US economy, and productive capacity of the workforce, has declined since the onset of the recession that can be directly traced to terrible decisions made by the financial sector and even worse decisions by those in government who dismantled the regulatory system of the financial sector that could have kept the wild gambling of Wall Street in check. The US economy dropped from 1st to 7th place in “competitiveness” after 2007, but has risen again to #3 and the trend is upward.

          The canards about US performance on international tests are rampant. US schools that have 10% or fewer student on free-and-reduced lunch are tops in the world on those tests. Schools with 25% or fewer are equal to top scoring countries.
          However, for those who continue to be concerned about international test scores it should be noted that those “high scoring” countries do not indulge in the over- testing of children that the US does. Those countries also tend to have child poverty rates that are a fraction of the US rate, have cradle-to-grave health care, generous parental leave policies, and seamless social services. Of course, they pay the taxes that support those things. They also have almost universally unionized teachers who work a fraction of the time US teachers do and are higher paid relative to other professions than US teachers are.

          Say, that last paragraph sounds like it could be the foundation of real school reform that works. Obviously then, it will not be tried in this country on any widespread basis. Reform that works would undermine the agenda to de-professionalize teachers, pay them less, make them subject to arbitrary and capricious personnel decisions. and ultimately declare public schools to be failing (in spite of the evidence they are not) and privatize them.

          • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

            Gary, eliminating child poverty would be a good thing, but the concern is adults manipulating the system, saying no child can be poor, I have a child, therefore I can be guaranteed a minimum level of income throughout many years of adulthood while not guaranteeing they will provide a decent effort. A huge percentage of the cause of poverty is single parenthood and men not staying with women. These men used to be … Read More

            Gary, eliminating child poverty would be a good thing, but the concern is adults manipulating the system, saying no child can be poor, I have a child, therefore I can be guaranteed a minimum level of income throughout many years of adulthood while not guaranteeing they will provide a decent effort. A huge percentage of the cause of poverty is single parenthood and men not staying with women. These men used to be outcasts but are now socially accepted and other women will date and remarry them. It would be hard to go back to these men being called upon properly. If we could eliminate single parenthood and have the ethics of before, it would reduce childhood poverty more than government programs, and this was the case for many decades. Men didn’t just abandon their kids to remarry and divorce again. Children’s academic achievement was considered far more important than adults’ romantic lives. If people married and didn’t get along, they’d take the hit rather than what they do now, make their innocent children take the hit as statistically they are less than half as likely to graduate college and double as likely to go to prison or be homeless based on this selfish decision on the part of at least one parent, which is why no fault divorce is a joke. No fault, yet extreme damage to an innocent.

            These nations, you forget to mention, watch far less TV and read and study more. I believe teachers work more hours there also. Kids spend way more time in school and studying and avoid summer learning loss. Child poverty isn’t the problem itself, but the behavior associated with it. Asian kids do better in poverty than whites with upper middle class incomes. It doesn’t eliminate the possibility of success. Every child has a roof, healthcare and free lunch, minimum food, and free tutoring and libraries in SF. It is possible to do well if it’s a priority as proved by 41% of Lowell being on free and reduced lunch. In fact, 39 kids at Lowell are homeless and they have to do 20-25 hours a week of homework minimum while living in shelters. Of the 41, 28 are on free lunch. It is possible, but it takes putting school #1. Most longstanding Americans who are poor put school very low, below looking cool, watching TV, friendships often with bad influences, sports, and many other things. Even the middle class has an anti-intellectual philosophy.

            Did you see ‘The Class’? Europe has some in poverty or near poverty as well. You can’t assume it is zero there. Why don’t you ever give credit to those who do well in poverty here? Because pointing out those who don’t is better for your agenda. No one wants to privatize all schools either, I don’t get this paranoid cloud which hangs over every discussion on education.

            Basically we have to be for letting bad teachers stay on for decades and ignoring those who do excel while in poverty, ignore effort, or be accused of wanting to privatize all education and put it in the hands of billionaires. Paranoid!