9/10/14: Mandatory kindergarten squashes parents' rights


September 10, 2014 -- For Immediate Release

Mandatory Kindergarten Squashes Parents' Rights
Costly and controversial bill on Gov. Brown's desk repeals current right of parents

Listen to Randy Thomasson interviewed on Sacramento's KFBK Radio

Sacramento, California -- Parents in California have always had the right to choose whether to send their children to kindergarten or to delay formal education until first grade. But AB 1444 on the desk of California Governor Jerry Brown would eliminate this parental right by forcing kindergarten upon all parents and all children.

"Taking away the fundamental right of parents on kindergarten is unwise, unnecessary, and unaffordable," said Randy Thomasson, president of, which promotes moral virtues for the common good. "Dads and moms are urging Governor Brown to veto AB 1444, the mandatory kindergarten bill, which infringes upon a parent's time-honored right to choose what's best for their own child."

As's veto request letter explains:

Dear Governor Brown,

As advocates for children and families, we support the long-held right and option of parents to wait until their children are 6 years old to enroll them in school. This is, and should remain, the decision of parents - they are obviously closest to their own child. We also support financial prudence in that the government should not spend more than its revenues. Because AB 1444 violates both these principles, we urge your veto. Read the rest of's letter

As a reimbursable state mandate, AB 1444 would cost as much as $200 million annually (to start), burdening an already-stressed state budget. "If the more costly 'transitional kindergarten' is completely unacceptable due to budget constraints," Thomasson said, "then mandatory kindergarten is also unaffordable, especially with its onerous elimination of a long-held parental right."

Parents who know their own children's intellects, emotions, and development have good reason for waiting until age 6; these same good parents start their children in formal schooling the very next year. AB 1444 is unnecessary in that it cannot improve the love that these parents already have for their own kids. Consider these family situations:

  • A girl who's doing well emotionally and developmentally at home. Her parents don't want the interruption of mandatory public school or other formal schooling just yet.

  • A boy who doesn't yet know how to healthily handle conflict with other children. His parents want him home for another year so they can work with and better prepare him.

  • A father or mother who is concerned about the local schools, who wants more time to consider their education choices, and who doesn't want to be rushed or forced into kindergarten.

"If parental rights are taken away here, what's next?" Thomasson asked. "For if kindergarten is mandated for all 5-year-olds, why not mandatory preschool for 4-year-olds? Mandatory daycare? Mandatory new parent classes? This unsavory future is entirely possible if 'nanny government' is permitted to control and regulate family life."

"The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently affirmed the fundamental right of a parent to oversee the upbringing and education of their own children," Thomasson observed. "Instead of eliminating a parental right and embarking on a costly, new government program, Brown should veto AB 1444 to give parents the respect they deserve and the rights they expect."

-- end -- is a leading West Coast nonprofit, nonpartisan organization standing strong for moral virtues for the common good. We represent children and families in the areas of marriage and family, parental rights, the sanctity of human life, religious freedom, financial freedom, and back-to-basics education.



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