Bill Seeks First Grade “Readiness” for All Alabama Students


Alabama children would have to attend kindergarten or take a test to show their “readiness” for first grade, under legislation advanced by a state House committee on Wednesday.

Rep. Pebblin Warren (D-Tuskegee) said the goal of her bill is to erase the academic disadvantage of students who enter first grade without either attending kindergarten or being worked with at home. She said many people are surprised to learn that kindergarten isn’t mandatory in the state.

Warren has pushed the legislation for years, but it never managed to get final approval. Gov. Kay Ivey gave her support to the bill in the State of the State address earlier this year.

The bill says kindergarten could be at a public school, private school, church school or home school. The state would create the assessment.

“This is a bill to try to save our children and try to make education what it should be in the state of Alabama,” Warren said.

The governor said in her speech last month that it’s “past time we require our students to complete kindergarten.”

At least 19 states and the District of Columbia require that children attend kindergarten, according to data from the Education Commission of the States.

Warren said she does not have data on the percentage of Alabama first graders who don’t attend kindergarten, but said she doesn’t think it’s very high.

The bill now moves from the House Education Policy Committee to the full House of Representatives.

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Categories: Montgomery Metro, News, Statewide