Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Late starting education

With all the efforts to get kids learning at an early age, it amazes me to learn that under current PA law, parents don't need to send their children to school until the age of 8. This means that some kids (as many as 20% in Philadelphia!) are entering 1st grade already a year or two older than their classmates and without the benefits of kindergarten, etc.
[Philadelphia school chief] Vallas said the late-starters face problems in their own learning and pose problems for others. They tend to be less academically prepared, are more likely to become disciplinary problems, and eventually are at greater risk of dropping out, he said.
The state House has passed a bill that would lower the compulsory age to 6 in Philadelphia, and the Senate should be considering it this fall.
State Rep. James R. Roebuck Jr. (D., Phila.), chairman of the House Education Committee and the prime mover behind the bill, said he wants to get the Philadelphia provision in place by the end of this year and in effect for the 2006-07 school year.
It seems like the entire state deserves the benefits of this requirement. Opponents cite parental choice, but presuming that city parents choose poorly while rural parents "have good reasons" to delay smacks of cloaked racism.


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