New Legislation Would Change Cutoff Date For Students Enrolling In Pre-K, Kindergarten

Mar 4, 2019

A bill that would raise the age children can start pre-K and kindergarten is moving through the Oklahoma State Senate.

Right now, a child must turn four-years-old before September 1st to enroll in pre-K or five-years-old to enroll in kindergarten. Senate Bill 11, authored by Greg McCortney (R-Ada), would change that to August 1st, meaning the youngest kids would have to wait a year to enroll.

Supporters point to research that says older children do better. Data from the Oklahoma State Department of Education shows roughly 40 percent of children who had to repeat pre-K in the last five years were born in July or August.

Kindergarten-teacher-turned-State-Senator Carri Hicks (D-Oklahoma City) says smaller class sizes and more resources would make a difference.

"Would these students be better served if we had more help and additional assistance in the classroom instead of saying they just can't be there?"

The bill passed the Senate Education Committee by a vote of 9 to 5 last week and now heads to the full Senate for consideration.