Local News

Earlier kindergarten cutoff to limit enrollments

Posted August 12, 2009

— A new state law will keep 13,000 children across North Carolina from starting kindergarten this month.

Students must now turn 5 years old by Aug. 31 to enter kindergarten. Previously, the cutoff date was Oct. 16.

Lawmakers moved the date up because they wanted students entering school to be more mature.

In Wake County, the new law will keep about 1,200 children from starting kindergarten.

School leaders report few problems because parents were notified in February. Parents can appeal to the school board if they feel their child is ready to start kindergarten early.

The change is expected to limit enrollment increases in Wake County this year, officials said.

Last year, the school district added 3,704 students. This year, the increase is projected at 2,400. In 2010-11, however, enrollment is expected to climb by 4,000.


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  • NCSUTeach Aug 12, 2009

    Iron Fist you are 100% right! I teach kindergarten and there is a world of difference between 4 and 5 year olds, even those 4 year olds that are reading. Why would you want your child to be at the bottom of the class (either academically, socially, emotionally, etc.) when they could be "at the top" of the class if you wait a year? Parents that push for their 4 year olds to attend school just want free day care.

  • wakemom Aug 12, 2009

    In my experience those kids that have late bday are the ones up in the clubs on the weekends and in H.S during the week. What can the parent do cant kick them out they are still in school cant control them because they are 18


  • iron fist Aug 12, 2009

    There has to be cut off, some children are not ready for school at the age of 5. Parents are using the system as baby sitters. Some children should not be in school that young they become bored and disrupt the entire class. I agree with an earlier post let kids be kids.

  • baracus Aug 12, 2009

    "Of course, someone has to be youngest in the class."

    Indeed, whether the cutoff is in August or December, there are always going to be some kids in the class who are nearly a year younger than other kids in the class. Actually there will almost certainly be more than a year's difference because some parents will hold their kids back even if they make the cutoff.

  • mjeffrey Aug 12, 2009

    tiblet's idea makes sense,
    the first day of school is a completely logical cut-off date.

  • mjeffrey Aug 12, 2009

    eden4576 makes an excellent point, when a teacher recommends that a student be held back, I would think that it would be for a good reason.
    Anyway, does anyone else think that maybe budget issues had play in this decision to reduce the number of new students.

  • Mimi_Harley_Goddess Aug 12, 2009

    I have an almost 21 year old stepson who was one of the youngest in his class because of his September birthday. He relates his college readiness issues to being younger than everyone else in school. There are even studies out there about it. Of course, someone has to be youngest in the class.

  • eden4576 Aug 12, 2009

    Regardless if they start at 4 or 5 I don't care...what bothers me (as a 1st grade teacher) is those that go through their grade and do not end the year on or above grade level. Then, when the teacher recommends retention the parents come up not agreeing and raise cain and threaten to take it to the school board and then the administration crumbles and pushes the kid through to get the parents off their back. Neither side helps the child by doing that. That my friends is why some kids can't pass EOG's...yet the teacher gets blamed!

  • mrsmom Aug 12, 2009

    I don't have a problem with changing the cutoff date, but the appeal requirements are impossible for that age. There are truly students who fall between the old and new cutoffs (and beyond) that are ready to start kindergarten. They should be allowed to do so without the parents having to pay a licensed psychologist to prove the child is gifted (that is what our county requires).

  • emily1066 Aug 12, 2009

    I have an early October birthday but I did not start Kindergarten until I was 5, and I am very glad! I already knew how to read and write, and play well with others (I went to a church pre-school for 3 years, half days only), and I was always ahead of the class. I would have hated starting when I was 4 because I would have always been younger than the rest of my class! I would have started college without being old enough to vote! I liked being one of the oldest students in my year. And being 18 my senior year definitely did not mean that I was in the clubs on the weekends.

    If people don't like the rule, they can home school and enroll in first grade, or send their kids to private school. No one says you have to go to public school!

    No law will make everyone happy all of the time.