Local News

New law makes Aug. 31 kindergarten birthday deadline

Posted February 5, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009


— Four-year-old Riley Adcock knows how to count, her colors and her shapes.

You'd think she would be ready for kindergarten, but she will likely spend another year in day care at Kiddie Academy of Brier Creek in Raleigh because she missed the cut-off date to be able to start school – by seven "very expensive" days.

Kindergarten cutoff date move up Kindergarten cutoff date move up

Riley's mother wishes she could drop the day care expense sooner rather than later.

"She was going to be here, that was the plan," her mother, Ashley Adcock said. "But with the economy, things are changing. It's up in the air. I don't know what we're going to be able to do."

This is the first year children are affected by a change in state law that makes only children who will turn 5 years old on or by Aug. 31 eligible to register.

The revised law moves the legal school-entry age up from Oct. 16 in an effort to reduce dropout rates in later grades and to make sure students are ready for formal school when they begin kindergarten.

"This was an effort to make sure every child gets a great start in kindergarten," Dr. June Atkinson, state superintendent of public instruction, said. "And one thing that's disturbing about our statistics is (that) we are seeing a rise in students retained in kindergarten."

The change means some day cares are adjusting their curriculums, since they will have more 5-year-olds in their centers instead of in school.

"Our older 4-year-olds, the kids who will be returning for a second year, the teacher in there does draw from our 5's curriculum," said Linda Plaisted, with Kiddie Academy. "Our company does have curriculum geared toward 5-year-olds. We are implementing that now."

Parents with children who miss the Aug. 31 cutoff can seek a waiver. In Wake County, the student has to take an aptitude test and an achievement test and have a score considered to be academically gifted. He or she also has his or her behavior observed and needs letters of recommendation from preschool teachers.


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  • thompson409035 Feb 9, 2009

    The problem is not their ages... it is the fact you expect them to read in Kindergarten!!!!!!! You are presuring these children too much, that is why the dropout rate has increased! Not every child is going to be brilliant!! Some need extra time to grasp different concepts!! Teachers are bombarded with teach them this teach them that. Some students can't even speak English yet you expect them to succeed!! NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!!!!!!!

  • teacher56 Feb 6, 2009

    This is the best scenario for ALL children who go to Kindergarten. Too many K students are immature and not ready for school. If you do not work with children, you could not possibly understand how much one additional year can help a child academically and socially. If a parent is concerned that their child is TRULY gifted, then one more year will simply create a situation that the child will be at the top of the class. If not, the child gets to have more time to develop. Superb idea and I am glad this law passed!

  • OHn8tive Feb 6, 2009

    maddiesmom972- EOG testing does not begin until 3rd grade, not Kindergarten. I work in a kindergarten classroom. On the first day, I could tell you who the younger children were in the classroom (about 95% accurate), based on maturity and being able to follow directions. In Kindergarten, we are required to teach letters, sounds, and 100 sight words. They must also be able to read by the end of the school year. If a child is younger, they may not be developmentally ready to perform these tasks. It's as simple as that. And yes, if they are a young 3rd grader, they will struggle with the EOG. I am not sure where your children go to school, but if you believe they are not being educated by their school, you should move to a better district, or homeschool them yourself.

  • maddiesmom972 Feb 6, 2009

    First let's get one thing straight public school is NOT about educating our children. And if you want to talk "day care" let's talk MORE AT FOUR set up especially for "low" income families. Now that IS daycare. Public School starting our little kids ho into kindergarten is about the EOG. Teachers teach the test. PERIOD. It is certainly not about lowering the drop out rate.

  • Tired of thoughtlessness Feb 6, 2009

    I went to Kindergarten at 4 and I am glad my mom enrolled me when she did.

  • Tired of thoughtlessness Feb 6, 2009

    How will this affect the drop out rate? That usually happens in high-school. I do not believe starting when you are 4 almost 5 will affect your "comfort zone" when you are 15, 16, and 17. If they can be tested to get a waiver, they should test all kids, and those who dont pass the test need to wait until the following year. I dont understand making those who are ready wait another year.

  • affirmativediversity Feb 5, 2009

    This is OUTRAGES! What kind of logic is applied that would have see children almost 6 years old entering kindergarten, on the pretense that they won't mind being 19 years old before they graduate high school?

    I think it is just a way to keep enrollment numbers down THIS YEAR with NO REGARD for how it negatively effects the children.


    Making any child wait until they are less than 2 months from 6 years old to start schoold is NEGLIGENT!!!

  • littlegramma Feb 5, 2009

    Just maybe if we stopped this all-day kindergarten for 5 year olds, and put it back to half days, so parents will stop using school as free day care instead of school maybe those kids who are not ready will stay home-or whatever- and those who are ready can go, whatever their birthday. And having kids "wait" is not going to forestall dropouts. In some states, the parents of kids who are truant have to come to school with the kid. And the drop out age is 18 with strict enforcement!

  • PTA mom Feb 5, 2009

    My daughter got into kindergarten under the old date and is now in high school. Being the youngest child in our family she was more than ready for school and I have not regretted sending her to Kindergarten as a 4 year old one single day. It does help that she is very bright and mature for her age and having older siblings was another plus. I am glad they have changed the date AND given those whose child is truly ready to go to school a way to get them in school now.

  • emcmanus Feb 5, 2009

    For 33 years now I've seen parents enroll students who turned 5 years old just before the cut-off date and live to regret it. Students are just not mature enough. Of course, there are those whose giftedness makes you really take a second look at when is the right time for them to enroll. As I have seen throught the years, it is not the first few years where you really notice the difference in maturity. It is down the road - about six or seven years where the difference really begins to show......physically and most importantly, emotionally.