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Poll: Full-Day K —Is It A-O-K?

The state General Assembly is considering a bill to make full-day kindergarten mandatory in all Rhode Island school districts — What do you think?

The state General Assembly is considering a bill to make full-day kindergarten mandatory in all Rhode Island school districts — What do you think?

Last month, five state Representatives introduced a bill that would require all Rhode Island school districts to offer full-day kindergarten instruction, and earlier today, Sen. Hanna Gallo (D-Cranston) proposed legislation that would help up to four districts cover part of the costs of expanding their current half-day kindergarten programs. 

[The RI KIds Count report on full-day kindergarten is attached to this article.]

Supporters of the full-day K bill (House 2012-7127) argue that statistics prove a correlation between full-day kindergarten classes and future success in school, while opponents of the bill point to the legislation as another unfunded mandate being imposed by the state on local school districts.

Gallo's bill would provide state funding during the 2013-14 school year to a handful of districts with the intent of defraying the costs of desks, books, and facility upgrades, according to a General Assembly press release.

According to the statement, Gallo's legislation is co-sponsored by Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown), and Sens. Louis P. DiPalma (D-dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Newport, Tiverton), Frank A. DeVall Jr. (D-Dist. 18, East Providence) and Roger A. Picard (D-Dist. 20, Woonsocket, Cumberland) and 24 other members of the Senate.

State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist has also announced support for Gallo's bill.

“Learning in the early years is the foundation that supports a lifetime of learning, so I strongly support initiatives that expand educational opportunities for our youngest learners," Gist stated in the press release. "The ‘Full-Day Kindergarten Accessibility Act’ provides incentives that will encourage more districts to offer a full school day of kindergarten instruction."

What do you think — should all Rhode Island school districts be required to offer full-daykindergarten classes? Or should each system decide what's best for its students? Do you think the state should "put its money where its mouth is" and fund the expansion ofkindergarten programs?

Vote in our poll, and add your comments below.

Common Sense March 10, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Great comments by all. Reasonable remarks regarding the All day K proposed bill. What ever happened to education that we had when we grew up? 1/2 day K was the norm and we survived. One comment suggested look at who is doing the research and who is paying for it... a valid point. Labor would be in favor as it means more dues but will it really help all students in all districts or is it more beneficial in the cities than in the burbs? Be mindful that there isn't any requirement that funding be provided for mandates survive the life of the mandate which in turn means unfunded mandate coming soon. This idea, while for some needs to happen right now, can not be supported in this economy by the state or the town budget. We have more pressing issues to address budget wise if we are to maintain our education program at it's current level. No legislation should ever be passed that requires funds without that funding source identified and survives for the life of the law. Our state and fed are very good at starting things and then walking away and taking the money with them. Look into the number of mandates that education has to deal with, it is in the hundreds, but the money keeps getting cut.
coventry voter-Jay March 12, 2012 at 12:14 PM
Lets put in a voucher system and let parents send their children to which ever school their child passes the entrance exam for public, private or charter. This will force the remaining schools to perform or risk losing even more funding. But you already know that. That's why a talking about voucher system is blasphemy in the Public Ed world. It would do away with life long income guarantees for under performing teachers and administrators. continued
coventry voter-Jay March 12, 2012 at 12:15 PM
It would also change the mindset that next years new contract is a continuation of this ending contract. In the real world a contract has a shelf life with a start and end date. After the end date we start fresh get it. A contract should not last for more years than you can guarantee the funding source within. SO if you cannot guarantee a towns income three years from now how can you possibly guarantee pay raises three years out never mind a ten year step program. . There is no place in our current society for public labor contracts. It's just not needed. These are not sweat shops and teachers will never be made to toll long hours at hard labor in unsafe environments. All these contracts do is guarantee income to both the quality teacher and under performing alike while enslaving the taxpayers to a contract that has unrealistic expectations giving today's vulnerable economic conditions. The Unions want to guarantee the income, raises and off time to their members. Read them for your self. You might think working for a school dept would be like a trip to the Gulag without these contracts and its just not the case
A concerned parent April 11, 2012 at 01:15 AM
Seriously? I find your post completely offensive. Not every parent wants full-day K so they can laze around and mooch off e government. I pay an EXTREMELY large amount of taxes and own a business that has brought many jobs to this area in a depressed time and I think my children would definitely benefit from more than 2 hours of schooling a day. And you know what? For the poor children who do have parents like you've described, maybe more time spent in a nurturing environment will steer them onto a path that's more productive than the one they see at home.
Concerned Resident April 11, 2012 at 02:34 AM
Wow, commenting 5 weeks later.......... Sounds that you feel that since you pay EXTREMELY large amount of taxes you feel that your will should be the way for many others to follow. Where might you think the money should come from to pay for full day K?? As you are obviously doing well perhaps you can find a way to possibly you can contribute more to assist those in need as I ALREADY contribute enough as is.

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