Thousands of Tennessee children every year will be forced to take a “maturity test” to enter kindergarten should a bill the Tennessee House just passed become law. Currently, children who turn five by September 31 are allowed to enter kindergarten, but the new bill changes that date to August 31, ensuring that all kindergartens are at least five years old. The maturity test would be administered to four-year olds should their parents, presumably, want their children to not be a year behind their friends and neighbors.
Opponents of the bill, House Bill 2566, say that the real reason for the dates change is it would save Tennessee an estimated $21 million, allowing them to lay off many teachers.
Tennessee, which recently enacted a law that protects teachers who teach creationism, has become home to some of the most anti-intellectual, anti-education, anti-science, and anti-reality bills in the country.
So it’s no surprise whatsoever to read this statement in an article this morning in The Tennessean:
Supporters argued that children who start school at an older age are more likely to succeed, but [Republican state Rep. Glen] Casada conceded there is no research that specifically backs that claim.
Chas Sisk at The Tennessean adds:
Legislative staffers estimate the change could save the state as much as $21 million a year and local districts $11 million. That prompted Democrats to question whether the change is motivated mainly by a desire to cut costs.
“If they started at 16 they could really ace those kindergarten tests,” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner, D-Old Hickory. “Basically what we’re doing on this bill is laying off teachers.”
The Tennessee House and/or Senate, both infamous for their (still-active and probably to-be passed this week) “Don’t Say Gay” bill, has passed recently a bill making some miscarriages murder, a bill that classifies holding hands as “gateway sexual activity,” and is home to Tennessee state senator Stacey Campfield, the lawmaker who was kicked out of a local Knoxville restaurant in response to his comments about how HIV/AIDS originated from a gay guy “screwing a monkey,” (false) and comments he made stating that it is “virtually impossible” to contract HIV via heterosexual sex.
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