Education Report: Good News for Oakland Families with 'Fall Babies'

Marion Herbert's picture
Monday, March 19, 2012

It's been a confusing few months for Calif. families with children who are turning 5 in November -- kids who, until this year, would have been eligible to start kindergarten.

First, they hear that a new California state law requires their local district to offer a two-year kindergarten program for children whose birth dates fall between the new kindergarten cutoff date (Nov. 1 this year, and eventually Sept. 1) and the old date, Dec. 2.

Then, they learn the governor wants to overturn that law.

But legislative analysts say that even if Gov. Jerry Brown succeeds in revoking the mandate, school districts that choose to offer transitional kindergarten will be able to receive state funding to educate those 4-year-olds. And if the law stands, of course, districts will have to provide it.

Jeff Bell, who directs management consultant services for School Services of California, told me this: Whether current law stands or not, "It looks like there will be resources in some fashion to have transitional kindergarten."

Oakland Unified is going forward with transitional kindergarten, launching the new grade at 10 schools in the fall. Yvonne Delbanco, who is coordinating the Oakland school district's new program, has been spreading the word to preschools and families. She said her message has been simple: "We are moving forward exactly as planned."Have you signed up for transitional kindergarten? How has your district handled the uncertainty? How have you?

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