Parents can request consultation for child's grade placement

Melissa Moy, a teacher at Yung Wing School P.S. 124, goes over a lesson with in-person summer program students on a monitor on July 22, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Parents who fear their child will not thrive in first grade because they skipped kindergarten during the pandemic or because they struggled too much with remote learning should reach out to their school.

A newly passed law, Assembly Bill 104, authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, gives parents the right to request a consultation regarding grade placement. That means parents can now help decide which grade best fits their child, although the final decision rests with the district.

"Kids who struggled with distance learning during the pandemic shouldn't be penalized for falling behind during such a difficult year," Gonzalez said.

Missing early milestones in reading and math skills, some worry, may hold students back as the workload increases.

"Some districts will push them into first grade just because they are age-eligible, which is a huge disservice to those children," said Paula Merrigan, a transitional kindergarten teacher in Castro Valley Unified. "It sets children up for failure if they are not prepared both socially and academically.  No child should feel like a failure."