The Kindergarten Readiness Act (SB 1381) was passed in September 2010 and is set to go into effect for the 2012-2013 school year. It is part of State Superintendent Torlakson’s Blueprint for Great Schools Initiative, which focuses on preparing students from kindergarten and beyond. The measure changes the required birthday admission to kindergarten and first grade.
Previously, children would enter kindergarten if they were 5 years old on or before December 2 and children entering first grade had to turn 6 years old on or before December 2. Under the new act, the dates for both grades will be moved up to November 1 for the 2012–13 school year, October 1 for the 2013–14 school year, and September 1 for the 2014–15 school year and each school year thereafter.
The California Legislative Analyst's Office notes:
California’s kindergarten start date is one of the latest in the nation;
Beginning school at an older age would benefit children’s academic performance and social development;
Children who are older when they start kindergarten tend to perform better on standardized tests; and
Research suggests changing the kindergarten start date may lead to positive student outcomes, including less chance of grade retention and higher earnings as an adult.
The Full Text of SB 1381 can be found here.