Raise school age to 6

Here’s something the Legislature is considering:

The earliest age at which California children could start kindergarten would go up three months under a measure passed by the state Senate on Wednesday. Youngsters would have to turn 5 by Sept. 1 under the proposal, which would reduce the state’s kindergarten population by 100,000.

The state would save big money by booting all those kids out of kindergarten. But proponents of the legislation say half of the $700 million to be saved would go to helping those same children through expanded public preschool programs. The rest would go toward closing the state deficit.

A better idea: Cancel the preschool programs, and raise the school age to six, thus getting rid of the first year of school, saving about $3 billion, and cutting the budget deficit from $19 billion to $16 billion.

There are added benefits. The kids would stay with their families, where they would learn more about family lore and traditions. And the families would have the joy of enjoying the kids for another year.

Kindergarten is one of those unfortunate German inventions — as the name shows — like the goose-step and Ph.D. programs. Of course, the Germans excelled in some areas, such as Beethoven, Mozart, and Mercedes. But let’s keep the best from Germany and discard the worst.

— John Seiler

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