Waiver for Early Entry into Kindergarten

Little boy watching other children leave for school
Little boy watching other children leave for school. Robert Hainer/123rf.com

I had attempted, with no success, to get the principal of our local elementary school to admit my son early into kindergarten. It was clear, however, that I wasn't going to get very far with the him. I was still convinced that early entry into kindergarten would be the best option for my son, so I called our superintendent's office and talked with the assistant superintendent. He told me that I could apply for a waiver to the cut-off date rule so that I could enroll my son in school early.

He said he would send me a form and told me I would have to get my son tested but said that he could not tell me where to go or give me the name of an acceptable test.  All he said was that it had to be a standardized test. Finally. I was making progress!

It wasn't easy to find someone to do the testing, but after much searching, I did find someone. It was the person who tested children for eligibility for special programs for gifted kids at Northwestern University. When we arrived for the testing and talked with the tester, she seemed annoyed that I had brought my son there for testing since they didn't test kids for kindergarten entry, just for their program. However, since we were already there, she agreed to test my son. I was anxious as I waiting for the testing to be done. After all, things didn't start out too well.

After what seemed like forever, the tester came back with my son. She sat down, dropped her shoulders as she turned to look at me, and stared at me for a moment.

Finally, she said, "I see why you brought him here." She went on to explain how well he had done on the tests, and not only was he eligible for their gifted program, he most definitely needed to start school. She is the one who discovered that at age four, my son was reading at a third grade level.

Shortly after the testing, I got the results of the test in the mail, along with a report that recommended my son be allowed to start school in the fall. I sent the report, along with the waiver application to the assistant superintendent of our school district.

A few days later, I received a call from the man. He let me know that he got the material I had sent in. Then he asked me if the test my son took was a standardized test. When I told him it was, he used that to dismiss the results of my son's test. Standardized test scores were based on the general population, but our town was above average and therefore standardized tests didn't apply. This was the same man who told me to be sure to get a standardized test done.

He then asked me how long I had lived in the community. I told him I had lived here all my life, to which he replied, "Then you know how bright our children are. Children who are considered bright in one town may not be bright in another, so your son may be bright in other towns, but he is like most of our children." In other words, your son doesn't need to start school early.

He totally discredited the results of the test he requested and seemed to be suggesting that all the kids in our town were reading better than third graders at age 5. That seemed preposterous to me, but it wouldn't be the last time someone in our school system suggested something like that.

What do you think about this?  Have you had similar experiences with this kind of logic? Share your story with my on my Facebook page.

Read more about my experiences raising my son.

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