Should kids have to take a maturity test to get into kindergarten? Tennessee legislators seem to think so. They think some young whippersnappers are trying to get into kindergarten too young. So they've introduced a new bill that pushes the cut-off birth date for kindergarten earlier. Kids who aren't yet 5 by August 31 next fall will have to take a maturity test to get into kindergarten. The kindergarten cut-off date was September 30.
Now a lot of people are saying this is just about money. About 4,200 kids will be affected if this bill passes. But that maturity test? Sounds like a loophole to me. A loophole asking for trouble.
How on earth do you test for maturity? What are the standards? Out of diapers? No nose picking? Saying please and thank you without being prompted? Not crying when your parents drop you off at school? Is there a wiggles-per-minute rate?
What if your child just happens to be having a bad day on the day of the test? And if your child doesn't test well, can you appeal?
I guess I understand why they created this testing loophole -- parents are going to be pissed at this new cut-off date change. There are kids who have already been in preschool and want to move on with their peers.
But if they introduce a maturity test, there will be arguments over the standards, appeals by parents who don't agree with the results -- it just opens up another set of problems. There's a similar law in Oregon, and I'm curious about how well those maturity tests are working there. Maybe there really are almost-5-year-olds who are so obviously immature it's not a close call?
How would you feel if your child had to take a maturity test to get into kindergarten?
Image via matsber/Flickr