A California-based ministry is urging parents in California to take opposing stand to AB55, a controversial education bill sponsored by Democrat Darrell Steinberg.
The bill states: "There is a further compelling need in California to ensure that early childhood development programs and services are universally and continuously available for children so that children enter school in optimum health and are emotionally well developed and ready and able to learn .... Therefore, it is the intent of the Legislature to provide ... Universal preschool programs that offer group experiences, developmentally appropriate curricula, and allow for a seamless integration to K-12 education for all children three and four years of age."
According to the bill, the age of compulsory education will be lowered from age six to age five and Home School Legal Defense Association says the legislation would take "incremental steps" toward a universal preschool program for three- and four-year-olds.
Jim Davis, the spokesperson of Family Protection Ministries, thinks the bill would force kids into school too soon. "This would begin to lower the age one notch, approaching a requirement that the education establishment is after to have a universal preschool and drop the compulsory education age ultimately down to three," he says.
"Of course we know that boys learn at different rates than girls, especially at the younger ages," Davis says. "We just feel that it's very, very detrimental to force the children into a formal education program at these [young] ages.
"There's a lot of people who feel that the longer you wait to begin the education -- up to around the age of seven or eight -- the better off the child is." Davis adds that he believes AB 56 will have an adverse financial impact on all citizens of California, where there is already a shortage of facilities and teachers.
Unlike private schools in California, preschools are licensed under the Department of Social Services and are highly regulated. A hearing for AB 56 is scheduled for January 21.