Currently, the state of Michigan says 4-year-old children may be enrolled in kindergarten as long as they turn five by December 1. State lawmakers are considering whether children are, in fact, mature enough to start school at that age, says Michigan Radio.
* The Michigan House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday that would gradually narrow age requirements for children enrolled in any given year.
* Michigan HB 4513 , as passed by state representatives, maintains the December 1 cutoff for the upcoming 2012-2013 school year, but it bumps the age of enrollment successively for the next three school years.
* In the 2013-2014 school year, HB 4513 says children must turn five by November 1. For school year 2014-2015 enrollees must have their fifth birthday before October 1 to attend school. By the 2015-2016 school year, children must be five before September 1 to go to school.
* There is a caveat to HB 4513. If parents wish to enroll a child whose fifth birthday falls after the date specified, but still before December 1 in any given year, they must submit written notification to the school district where the child will attend school.
* Based on age or other factors, the school district may advise parents who wish to send their children to school at age four. Parents get to make the final call, however.
* Michigan's House of Representatives passed HB 4513 with the immediate effect proviso, passed by roll call vote.
* Previously, Michigan's Senate had passed a similar version of the kindergarten age-changing bill. HB 4153 has been passed back to the Senate for final approval.
* According to a House Fiscal Agency analysis of HB 4513, a concomitant change, in the form of HB 4514, would be made to the State School Aid Act to reflect the age changes for kindergarten enrollment.
* Based on enrollment patterns, student demographics and per-pupil spending, the House Fiscal Agency projects that narrowing the kindergarten population will save the Michigan $50.4 million in 2013-2014, $100.8 million the next year and $151.2 in the final phase of the age change.
* The House Fiscal Agency says that annual state education savings would apply only to the extent that parents don't exercise their right to enroll children in school earlier than the cutoff date.
* According to MLive, state Sen. Darwin Booher (R-Evart) who authored the kindergarten age revision bill, said earlier in May that it was popular with educators. "At the committee hearings, kindergarten teacher after kindergarten teacher was saying, 'Do this! Do this! We have real problems in our schools.' It's not that the kids aren't smart enough. There are behavioral issues, and a large percent are those 4-year-olds. That takes away from the rest of the children."
Marilisa Kinney Sachteleben writes about people, places, events and issues in her home state of "Pure Michigan."