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Posted on Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 5:01 p.m.

New education laws prohibit passing school buses, raise minimum age for kindergartners

By Danielle Arndt

Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill into law today that prohibits motorists from passing school buses that are loading and unloading students, no matter what.

The law voids a previous law that allowed drivers to come to a full stop behind a bus, and then proceed past the bus at 10 miles per hour “with due caution,” according to an article.


Vehicles are now legally required to stop for school buses loading and unloading passengers at all times.

Melanie Maxwell |

The new law requires motorists to stop at least 20 feet from a school bus whenever a bus is stopped and employing the use of its two red flashing signals. The driver may proceed once the bus resumes motion.

“The safety of our students always comes first and this will eliminate any confusion as to when it is and is not OK to pass a parked school bus,” Snyder said in a news release.

A person passing a stopped school bus could be charged with a civil infraction, reported, and could pay between $100 and $500 in fines. A violator also could be ordered to perform up to 100 hours of community service at a school, according to the article.

Read the full report here.

Last week, Snyder signed a bill increasing the minimum age requirement for a child to attend kindergarten. Starting in the 2015-16 academic year, children must be 5 years old at the start of the school year (by Sept. 1) instead of the previous cut-off date of Dec. 1.

The requirement will be phased in over the next three years, making the cutoff date Nov. 1 in 2013-14 and Oct. 1 in 2014-15.

Read the details of the school bus/student safety law here.

Read about the new kindergarten law here.


David Barbour

Tue, Jul 10, 2012 : 3:19 p.m.

How about having a basic skills test prior to entry to kindergarten? Then age would be less of an issue. Children who are immature by virtue of age or lack of exposure to intellectual stimulation could be routed to a pre-K program.


Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 11:24 p.m.

If you feel your child is ready you can always test them into or out of. I know two kids who skipped kindergarten by testing right into first grade out of preschool


Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 1:03 p.m.

...or maybe you're just a hater and won't support the Governor bringing back Michigan from the bankrupt laughing stock it was under democrat Granholm regardless of what he does??? hmmm...


Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 10:50 a.m.

I find it amazing that Governor Snyder would sign this law, but repeal the motorcycle helmet law. What's that he says about safety? Sounds like flip flop to me! What's next, repealing the seat belt law?

Fat Bill

Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 3:14 a.m.

Most localities passed their own ordinances regarding school busses on red light can see the warning signs at the city limits.


Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 1:43 a.m.

Too old, too smart to sit with the little ones? Not a problem, your son or daughter can skip a grade later.

J. A. Pieper

Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 12:48 p.m.

Interested - Very well said, and points out the other side of the story. I will challenge any capable student with fun activities, and have never had a capable child, or their parent, complain. One student, who the parents claimed was gifted, didn't want the challenge work, claiming it stressed him out. The children have to be motivated, and this is instilled by the parents, before the children start school. Even bright students have to work hard at some point, and once they realize this, they will go far in any thing they choose to do. Ever wonder why a certain culture in out schools does very well, and probably adds to the so called "achievement gap?" A respect for learning, a family who has instilled the values related to education, and what ic an help you achieve.


Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 12:28 p.m.

Themadcatter, I'm afraid it probably wasn't the schools who failed your son. It may have been your inability to see that your child had social issues that prevented him from doing his best work and placing blame on the schools, rather than looking deeper at what could really be the problem. Seems like he wasn't intrinsically motivated to do well, because that value may have been overlooked. His parents probably asked him everyday if he was, "bored" and not challenged in school. He then believed that he was bored, and so bored that he could do whatever he wanted. This leads children to feel entitled to act out, because they begin to fell they are in a place he shouldn't be, even though these children could gain a lot from learning with their peers (no matter what words they know how to spell). I may be totally off base here as I don't know all the details of your child and his schooling. This attitude from some parents about their children is really typical in the schools. Parents allow their children to believe they are more special than all of the other children, because they may excel in a few skills. They undermine the good stuff happening in the classroom/school by telling their children how school is too easy and that they are better than all of the other kids and should be placed in higher grade. Then after 12 years of schooling one realizes the kid isn't as brilliant as mom and dad thought. Who gets the blame...the schools.


Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 11:56 a.m.

catter: the private schools are worse than public when it comes to the age thing.


Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 8:20 a.m.

(Guess I shouldn't attempt writing at 4AM - I see lots of typos!)


Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 8:17 a.m.

My son started Kindergarten at age 4. He was content. Learned to socialize a bit. Academically he was not challenged. (The teacher didn't even know my son could read and write, she did all that for the students). I asked to have my son skip 1st grade. Came up against a brick wall. No way - kids need to stay with their peers and allow more time to mature. Well, my son drove his 1st and especially his 2nd grade teachers bonkers as he was soooo bored he was constantly acting out in class (the class clown) to which the teachers would respond by forcing him to sit in the hall outside the classroom or stand facing the wall at recess. It was his 2nd grade teacher that finally recommended he skip 3rd. She said he was very immature and it wasn't likely to get better unless he was challenged. He spent the last two weeks of 2nd grade in the 3rd grade classroom to acclimate. He the spelling tests they took and he passed. 4th grade was a very good year for him and for his teacher. Had started him in Kindergarten one year later so that he would have been 5 almost 6 at the start of school I'm afraid it would have been very detrimental to his education and that of his classmates having to put up with his antics. For sure his teachers would had their hands full. All he needed was a challenge. Proof skipping can work. But by middle school the public school system failed my son. His grades were poor because he didn't do the assignments (he would say why should he, he already knows the stuff). I finally put him in WTMC were, after a year of floundering because he'd never learned to study, he flourished. My point is age and maturity levels can not always predict how a student will do in school. Had I had the resources I would have but my son in a private school. Had I waited another year to put him in school he would have been a year wiser and less cooperative and placed in an even last challenging environment.

J. A. Pieper

Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 2:20 a.m.

A2M - very hard to do these days, and this option is not always good for students either!


Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 12:03 a.m.

This article is misleading, drivers have always been required to stop for buses with flashing red lights. The new law merely closes a loophole pertaining to passing a school bus at intersections!


Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 11:57 p.m.

The danger in picking up an article previously reported elsewhere and not checking the facts is that the previous article may be wrong or incomplete. In this case incomplete information leads to a misunderstanding of this new law. The law reads that a driver must stop for the bus displaying red flashing lights and the driver can only proceed when the "bus resumes motion OR the red flashing lights are no longer activated." It is the "no longer flashing" part that is missing. Under this latter provision a driver does not have to wait until the bus resumes motion.


Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 3:44 p.m.

Do us a favor. Stop for the reds and yield to the yellows. If we blow our horn then there might be a child you might hit. Get it? Give us some respect. We are carrying someone elses children.


Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 11:38 p.m.

I am also very much in support of the change in the birthdate cutoff. I teach middle school and often see the later effects of the ones that start school at age four. I like to point out that you're not only sending a four year old to kindergarten, but you're also sending a ten year old to middle school and a thirteen year old to high school. Yikes.


Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 11:54 a.m.

I was always the youngest kid in my class. But I did fine in school, had lots of friends and have done well in life. My biggest flaw is that I waste time posting comments here, but that isn't something the Kindergarden age cutoff would've helped.


Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 12:08 a.m.

Very good point. I really think the effects aren't seen until much later (fourth grade and beyond). It is hard to keep a child in preschool when you feel they are ready for kindergarten despite their young age, but I know many with older kids who say "if I could do it all over again...".

Julia Herbst

Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 11:32 p.m.

I was forced to stay in Preschool for an extra year because My birthday was December 5th, not before the 1st. I was always one of the oldest kids in my class, And never felt like the ages around me were the ages I should of been around. I turned 6 in Kindegarten, when most kids were barely 5. I was always sent to the principles office because "I talked too much", yet could repeat back to the teacher exactly what she was talking about. Being 6 and in kindegarten put me at a disadvantage because the kidegarten curriculum did not keep me engaged. I think the Cutback on the date will make it even worse, and create an even bigger age gap in classes with young children. I also think that pre-school should be a free program through every public school system. It has been proven that children who have preschool before starting kindegarten have better test scores, and do dramatically better throughout their school careers. I have a friend who has been trying to enroll her preschooler into school at Willow Run, currently WR's program is government funded, so her son got denied because their income is too high. The lady helping her fill out application forms was trying to get her to lie about her child (Low birth weight, non-english speaking people in home, ADD, etc) so he would have a better chance at getting accepted. Nope. And now because they do not have a tuition based program, her child cannot go to the school district they live in, and she will have to transport him to a different district.


Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

Stephen- Here is a link to a sample report card for kindergarten from Ann Arbor: When there is a white space in the columns then the teacher should assess on that skill.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 1:20 a.m.

@Wondering: Thanks for that info! With two pre-k children it's good for my wife and I to know what the expectations are.


Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 12:03 p.m.

The skills that I listed are ones that are reported out at the 1st trimester report card in November in Ann Arbor (November). Teachers begin assessing the students on these skills to mark the report card in October. So unless the students are going to learn all of this in 2 months, they are expected to know most of it prior to attending. Thy are more focused on reading...get to level C (Fountas & Pinnel) and counting to 110 by the end of the school year.


Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 11:50 a.m.

Julia, some kids are more ready than others as your post indicates. The problem isn't the starting age for Kindergarden because there has to be a cutoff. The problem is not identifying more advanced students and either advancing them a grade or offering more challenging work. Advancing grades were much more common in the past to my anecdotal eye (someone with actual data, please feel free to correct me) in the past.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 10:47 a.m.

@Wondering: I'm just curious if the skills you list ("kindergarteners are expected to know...") are what is assumed at entrance to kindergarten or what is taught in kindergarten and the expected resulting skills when finished?


Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 2:11 a.m.

So why has kindergarten changed so much since we were kids? Do we really need to start pressuring kids at 5? I'm all about education, but I'm disappointed with the changes. I was 4 when I started kindergarten and did fine. I realize that not every kid would be ready to start before the 5th birthday, and maybe girls are typically ready sooner. So why don't we let parents and teachers decide this so that the timing can be most appropriate for the children. And now we are stuck with full-day kindergarten. So intense!


Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 1:24 a.m.

Kindergarten has changed a lot since you were there (unless you are 9 or 10). Kindergarteners are expected to know all uppercase and lowercase letters, be able to count to 30, write their name, and have a bank of sight words that they are able to read. A lot different than the learning how to share and how to do school curriculum many experienced. I am very glad this is happening. My youngest will be starting school in 2015-16 with other students who are also ready for school.


Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 12:05 a.m.

However that was just YOUR experience. As shine16 points out, sometimes these effects aren't seen until later, especially in upper elementary. Also there are the learning differences between boys and girls (i'm sure i'll get blasted for that, lol). Face it Julia, maybe you were just a really smart/mature kid :)


Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 11:18 p.m.

I am quite certain that the requirement was September 1st at one time, was changed by some liberal cranks and this law is just restoring it. As far as the buses, there should be a law limiting how much time buses can stop traffic. Seeing parents who hit the bus late as it waits for them, clinging to their kids and hugging them like they are going off to war while people in their way to work wait. It should be a law that buses pick kids up at side streets and if the little urchins have to walk a few blocks to a bus stop, so be it.

Roger Rayle

Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 1:17 p.m.

@shepard145, maybe you're older than me and recall an earlier law, but I started kindergarten in 1952 when I was four... along with a few other kids who had birthdays Sept 2-Nov 30. I can't imagine doing any better in school if I had started a year later.

laura wolf

Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 2:57 a.m.

december 1st was the cutoff when i started kindergarten in 1960. everyone else born in 54 started in 1959. having the cutoff at the beginning of the school year makes much more sense. either that or just have the cutoff at the end of the year but not one month before.


Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 1:10 a.m.

If you are "certain" you should be able to cite your research here.


Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 11:48 p.m.

That makes sense - that's about when liberals started infecting the public school system like a plague.

Tom Todd

Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 11:38 p.m.

been the law since before the late 70's.


Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 10:57 p.m.

Hooray!!! As a former kindergarten teacher I am thrilled to death the age for students entering kindergarten will be changing. It's about time! Nine times out of ten the "late birthday" students are NOT ready for school. They had issues with rules, academics, and behavior. I am not in any way a fan nor supporter of Snyder, but this is fantastic. I only wish things could begin this fall.


Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 4:49 p.m.

The teacher should not have to deal with today's behavior issues. Used to be that childeren were taught proper behavior and adherence to rules, not to mention respect for elders and teachers. Her ethics are right on the money. To say that she 'would not have survived if you started complaining about my child' paints you as one who would not allow your precious one to be disciplined or corrected no matter what he/she did. That's what today's brats count on.


Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 3:50 p.m.

You sound like a teacher who does not want to deal with the behavior issues. Glad mine does not have you. Mine was an early birthday and mine had no problems with any of her teachers. It is teachers like you that really need to re evaluate your ethics. From the sounds of it, sounds like you would like to pick and choose the good over the bad. You would not have survived if you started complaining about my child. By the way mine was in a charter and had a great time. No complaints here.


Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 10:21 p.m.

As Seldon said, I was not aware that you could ever pass a school bus while it's red flashing lights were on. I always thought you could with caution after they put the yellow flashers on. In that case I thought the driver was allowing some traffic to pass so as not to tie it up longer. I always stop Wayyyyy...back from any school bus with flashing red lights.


Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 3:50 p.m.

You can't. You can with the yellows. This law can make things very confusing.


Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 9:32 p.m.

What is the point of the Kindergarden law? I think it is fine for kids to start if they are 5 years old by Dec. 1st.


Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 3:54 p.m.

I totally agree. From the comments I am reading here? Sounds like we want academic students with no socialization skills, period. Kind of like saying we are creating robots in K and androids by grade 12. Kind of scary to think about that one. Send them to school and let them have fun. This law is total nonsense.


Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 11:45 a.m.

Some kids are ready at 4 and some are ready at 6. Any date cutoff is arbitrary but necessary. If a child is more advanced when starting Kindergarten (which will likely happen in the new law as some kids will be almost 6 years old) then those kids should be identified and allowed to advance to first grade. This is already allowed under the previous law. And, in looking at the law, it still seems that you could get your kid into Kindergarten if they are born before Dec 1st. Follow the link in the article to see that provision.


Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 1:38 a.m.

Here is a link to when a child needs to be 5 by in other states. Michigan was one of a handful of states with a late cut off date. The majority of states are September 1 or close to it. When comparing how schools do from state to state Michigan has been at a disadvantage. Students in a state with a September 1st cut-off have older students than the Michigan has in the same grade. Think about Michigan 3rd graders (some who may not be 8 until December 1st) taking their 1st big standardized test being compared to 3rd graders in a state with a September 1st cut-off (all of those students are already 8). A few months makes a huge difference.

J. A. Pieper

Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 11:52 p.m.

AAProgressive - I have taught for many years at the lower elementary level, and believe me, this new law is important when it comes to educating our children. Schools these days are establishing rigorous curriculums for all grade levels, even kindergarten. The old kindergarten that focused on basics and socialization no longer exists in today's competitive world. Although I am not totally supportive of this new trend, I don't control what happens in education today, so we have to make sure our children are ready to face the challenging academic demands. Too many children come to school as soon as they can get in and they are just not ready, and it is not always related to what they know, it can be related to their social skills. The parents who currently do start their children when they are already five have given their child plenty of play time before they face the challenges of learning. Young children need that "play" time, the creativity and physical aspects are priceless as a strong base for future learning. Due to financial concerns, more and more children are being started when they are still four, sometimes half a kindergarten class can be four year olds in September! This is way to early for children to face the academic demands in schools today, and any time we can give them a little advantage/boost, it is worth the effort. Your child might have been ready, hence you think it is fine to start if they turn 5 before December 1 st. This adjustment in the law has been in the works for several years already, so much thought and planning has been focused on the benefits, and the (few) drawbacks.


Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 10:14 p.m.

So, to paraphrase an age-old question: If kids in other states jumped off a bridge should we encourage our kids to jump off a bridge?


Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 10:05 p.m.

It is to be consistent with other states. If we're going to have our students' scores compared with others' in the nation, it does make sense that our kids are the same age.


Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 9:59 p.m.

If I were to guess, which let's be frank, this is, it is in reaction to studies that show that younger children don't do as well in school as older children due to lack of social development and that trend carries on through to graduation. But maybe it is just to line up with what other states do.

Tom Todd

Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 9:41 p.m.

making laws just because, he can't/nor wants to fix the economy.


Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 9:31 p.m.

Wow. I didn't know you could pass one after a stop before, so this isn't going to change my behavior. I've always thought that once the red lights go on, you're stuck.


Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 4:14 p.m.

Well now Snyder has made it a law. Carry on.


Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 3:35 p.m.

Me three. I don't think I've ever seen anyone pass a stopped red flashing school buss before. Even at 10 mph could really hurt a 5 year old.

John of Saline

Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 2:05 a.m.

Me too. Kinda thought that was nation-wide.


Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 9:27 p.m.

As a school bus driver this law is a complete joke. Why? Because There already is a law in place to prohibit cars from passing us. But do the motorists see our reds? Nope. So guess what? We write down your plate number, car make and model and write you a ticket. $300 fine and 3 points. The only way a motorist can pass us is if the yellows are on. Snyder? We need to talk about enforcing this law because right now? Children have been hit. O by the way, if you challenge this? I will see you in court. Been a few times. How nice to get a message across that seems to in one ear and out the other.


Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 7:58 p.m.

Exactly what I thought JNS131!!! When I read the first paragraph, I thought "that is news to me." I have always thought that once the red lights come on and the bus is stopped passing is a violation. I figured they changed it.


Wed, Jul 4, 2012 : 3:34 p.m.

Do you have a wheelchair? Are you preschool? Then it should take no more then 3 or 4 minutes. Give the special needs a chance to get on board. Otherwise, got $300 to spend?

Tom Todd

Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 9:37 p.m.

I agree with the red lights although does it take dick and jane 10 minutes to board the bus.


Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 9:14 p.m.

Just another way Mr. Snyder is imposing his agenda on us.


Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 9:28 p.m.

No it is not. This law has always been in place. He just made it tougher on you to get the message across that if you cross me? I will send you a nice fat ticket. So remember this in September. I will be watching.