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Cutting Kindergarten? Oh, My!


In Massachusetts, three school districts are rethinking whether to offer full-day kindergarten for free, and the school board of a California district recently discussed cutting kindergarten altogether. The Boston Globe reported this week in "Schools reconsider full-day programs" that one district halted a plan to add full-day classes, another wants to charge fees for parents that opt to enroll their children in full-day kindergarten, and another has already announced fees.

The Capistrano Unified School District in California recently announced a list of possible budget cuts that included eliminating kindergarten. That idea didn't go over well with some parents, who wondered if it was legal, according to the Orange County Register. The reporter for the newspaper asked around and concluded, "there is no clear legal answer."

This is happening in a national context in which we've heard a number of politicians, including Ohio's governor, Ted Strickland, and U.S. President Barack Obama, promote the importance of early-childhood education.

These news stories are a sign to me that the financial crisis is weighing really heavily on some school districts.


I don't know about Massachusetts' or California's state curriculum, but I feel that if North Carolina got rid of their kindergarten program we would be worse off. The problem that always seems to be the case is that those in politics often do not have an education background. They make choices on the way they feel about issues instead of research. There has to be another answer to this problem than cutting out education.

It is inconceivable to me as a kindergarten teacher as well as a tutor/coach for older students, that some folks both in and out of education do not realize the incredible and critical growth that occurs in kindergarten. Not only is kindergarten now responsible for teaching academic content standards formerly taught in first grade, but kindergarten is where kids learn how to manage themselves, gain self efficacy, and thrive in a school environment. When will our leaders realize that the work we put in up front in preparing and setting kids up for success surely pays off in the end?

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