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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.

coventry voter-Jay February 29, 2012 at 12:36 PM
All day K will reduce daycare costs for those parents with young children and increase the property taxes for the rest of us. I am not willing to pay more taxes so a single parent on section 8 to lazy to work, can drop off her Crumb Snatchers at all day K then sits home watching Maury Povich and Jerry Springer while she waits for the mini bus with the tinted windows to drop off little Joshua and his sister Destiny after spending the day reading “Timmy has two Mommies” and taking a nap after Rug Time. . Enough is enough people. I challenge Guthrie and Tomasso to prove all day K produces better students than part time K and involved parents. You cannot fix uninvolved parents with all day K, and that is where the problem is. All you will accomplish is spending more tax dollars while achieving the same results. You cannot mandate a child’s attention span or a parent’s desire to be involved in that same child’s education.
NKRI Transparency February 29, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Conventry Voter: well said!!!!!!!!
Joe Smith February 29, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Two sets of comments: From 2004 Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998–99 (ECLS-K), sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education "The potential benefits of a longer kindergarten day can be attributed to the increased amount of time children spend at school, but perhaps more importantly to the way in which the extra time is spent. Some researchers have suggested that longer school days for kindergartners will not have a positive impact unless the time is spent in developmentally and individually appropriate learning environments These authors recommended that full-day kindergarten programs take advantage of the longer day by providing child-centered, developmentally appropriate activities and offering a balance of small group, large group, and individual activities." The study finds that "Eighteen percent of variation in the average reading gains between schools is explained by program type, class size and frequency of reading instruction. Seventeen percent of the variation in the average mathematics gains between schools is explained by program type." Program type = 1/2 day versus Full day
Joe Smith February 29, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Part 2: So, Coventry voter, there is a fairly well done study that shows there are some gains associated with length of program; *however*, the extra time is only partially responsible. Reading for example, "Children in classes that spend a relatively large part of the day on reading instruction (more than 90 minutes in full-day classes or more than 60 minutes per day in half-day classes) make greater gains in reading compared to children in those classes that spend less time on reading instruction." So, the same gains are possible, it's whether schools are willing to devote more time in the half day (which as was noted, is really less than a half day), especially since more time in math is *not* associated with higher gains ("Time for math instruction, as defined for these analyses, is not similarly related to math gains") Of course, this study also means that 80+% are explained by other factors. For example, the study notes "It may be that some of the curriculum differences found between half-day and full-day classes can be explained by demographic differences associated with program type rather than program type alone." I tend to sympathize with your argument that there is a political (meaning union) bent to adding full day (= more teachers). Perhaps our school district could think "outside of the box" and do whatt colleges have done - meaning the equivalent of "adjuncts" to teach or organize specific activities instead of hiring more full-time teachers.
NKRI Transparency February 29, 2012 at 04:02 PM
I believe we should do what is right for our kids............I believe "more" that we should be able to afford any decisions. Just imagine a mandate that any proposal must also include a means of funding.
coventry voter-Jay February 29, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Joe well said. Quality vs Quantity almost always prevails. The "adjuncts" idea is not a new concept. We have had adjunct VP's come in at the high school at $375+ per day. The unions will never allow it in a teaching position or a coaching position in most cases. I cant go in and coach my boys basketball team which I would do for free, and have do for the past 6 years on a rec team. I would be a "Scab" in their eyes. The unions run the show, and the SC seats and most TC seats are bought and paid for. The proof is all around us in the contracts and I dare them or anyone to prove me wrong.
coventry voter-Jay February 29, 2012 at 04:38 PM
sorry that should read "have done for the past 6 years"
Ted Geisel March 01, 2012 at 01:48 PM
"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..." When will people learn that correlation is not the same as causation?
coventry voter-Jay March 01, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Anon I say to the supporters of the full-day-bill what Mark Twain once said, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” Surveys and statistics can't prove anything with 100% certainty unless the sample questions 100% of the population. Look at who the supporters are and always follow the money.
Joe Smith March 01, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Good point Anon. To the question of other states do this -- if you look at the distribution of where full day K exists you find Prevalent in private schools (because parents pay for that option) For public schools, more common in the south (more right to work states, lower instructional costs in general, higher concentration of students who qualify for federal educational funds) and in urban areas (see last reason) and states where parents have the option to pay.
Ruthie March 06, 2012 at 07:20 AM
I agree with Tim... his analysis is on point. We should not encourage state sponsored day care in the guise of all day kindergarten... make it a choice, not a mandate. We can't afford more teacher pensions either.
Dark star March 07, 2012 at 03:27 AM
Full-day kindergarten is currently available in Rhode Island for those that want it. It is called private school. It is fully funded by the parents that pay for it and not subsidized by taxpayer dollars. If you feel your child would benefit from full- day kindergarten, make adjustments to you family budget and stop expecting taxpayers to fund your life choices.
BG March 07, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Agree 110% with "Tired of NK antics," above. In the 11 years that I have been a North Kingstown homeowner, my property tax bill has tripled, my home value is less than when I first bought it, and I have never had nor will I ever have any kids in the school system. Unless and until there is real property tax justice in this town -- meaning a half-rate for homeowners who do not use the school system -- my husband and I plan to do what my parents did -- sell our home and move to a town with more reasonable property taxes.
Joe Smith March 07, 2012 at 10:19 PM
BG - When I don't need Fire, EMS or Police services, should I get a portion back of my taxes? I don't use nor have any elderly relatives that use senior services; shouldn't I pay less taxes too? Multiple studies done on the impact of school performance or related statistics (spending per student, etc.) conclude that school quality has a positive correlation (all other things equal) on home values -- not a real shocking finding. School system == future educated workforce who will pay social security and medicare for when the rest of us are elderly; do you really only want the portion of the population who could afford to pay 150% more having access to education -- what do you propose for the children of families who can not afford your tax "justice" -- or will there be an income requirement for procreation? Now, if "tax justice" means that property taxes have continued to rise while enrollment has fallen, then please raise your voice to the S/C and T/C on being better stewards, hiring more effective managers, and implementing better business practices such as consolidation of services or divesting/outsourcing of activities like running our own cafeteria service that loses hundreds of thousands of dollars. Also, press our GA reps why we help subsidize places like CF that have some of the highest paid educators with some of the lowest performance stats. Oh, and when you sell your house, who are the likely buyers..and what do you think will matter to them?
Concerned Resident March 07, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Simple solution, if a proposal is going to require funds - the proposal needs to also include how it will be paid for. Seems that many are in need or want without regards to where the funding will be derived allowing for all to make an informed decision.
Spring Street March 08, 2012 at 12:08 AM
Please help me remember here ! The Lottery ! Weren't the proceeds suppose to go to education ? What about the $126 million they just taxed the recent winner on ! ? Then I just read their going to use Lottery $ for elections !? How can they keep changing their Good Old Minds ??!!
Concerned Resident March 08, 2012 at 12:23 AM
The state tax on the winnings was approx $12M.
MmkL March 08, 2012 at 03:23 AM
A little clarification here. When the lottery was first introduced during Gov. DiPrete's administration in the 1980's, lottery proceeds were to be used for education. That legislation did not pass. When it did finally pass, the revenue was directed just to the general revenue account. Fiscally, using lottery proceeds as a designated revenue stream would not give education any special protection since the proceeds do not come close to the dollars designated for that purpose. Mike
Spring Street March 08, 2012 at 03:23 AM
Who got the rest ?
Spring Street March 08, 2012 at 04:01 AM
Yes. The Lottery must withhold federal and state taxes from each prize over $5,000.00. The Lottery withholds 25% for federal taxes and 7% for RI State taxes. Out-of-state winners are responsible for reporting the income in their respective states. Non-US residents’ prizes are subject to federal back-up withholding. For prizes above $599.00, winners will receive a W-2 tax form. http://rilot.com/faqs.asp
Spring Street March 08, 2012 at 04:33 AM
http://www.rilot.com/financial.asp#where []explains where the $ goes] http://www.rilot.com/news.asp?Action=ViewNews&ID=607 [RI got $14,700,000.] http://www.rilot.com/about.asp#beneficiaries
Robert Trager March 08, 2012 at 10:19 AM
Reading to your children at an early age will have a much more profound impact on their education than full day K will ever have.
David Marble March 08, 2012 at 02:08 PM
Excellent posts, Joe. Unfunded mandates are bad enough.....but unfunded mandates thrown to "feel good" programs are why we are where we are with deficits. There is no question about the benefits of well designed early childhood education programs. There are huge questions as to how ours would be designed, implemented and funded. Therefore, I don't believe the poll can be answered with any reasoning.
Joanne maslen March 09, 2012 at 03:53 PM
The comments made saying full day k would not be helpful and to read to them at home is not enough. There are so many children who are just falling between the cracks and are now showing it in upper grades. Parents may not have extra money and there maybe nothing to cut back in their family budget. Their are families who work and cannot pay for private education and these same families are not receiving foodstamps or any type of aide. They are the working class just surviving their children need to be able to go to school and learn. So why not let those who can afford pay and help the children who cannot pay so they have the same opportunity to keep up with the others. Do you realize that when a child is in K and your child cannot keep up the teachers do not have the time to teach them because they are requiring more time. What is happening is all the children suffer and if you just want a few to get full day k then the others may become our future welfare recipients. So pay now or pay latter that is the choice
Joe Smith March 09, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Joanne - Can't speak for the others, but my comments were it is far from clear that all-day K is helpful, or at least helpful given the extra cost. If you have not done so, you should spend some time looking a the changes in NECAP scores by grade, school, and other categories to see exactly where the greatest "fall behind" changes occur. Also, you should encourage our S/C and Supt to do some out of the box thinking with regard to school day; as one poster noted, K is really not half/day..it's only 2.5. Why can't "half-day" really be closer to 4 hours? I think most parents know that younger kids are actually up earlier than older kids and school schedules are driven (sorry for the pun) by transportation costs -- how much could we reconfigure K if we didn't have to spend half-million dollars on bus monitors? Or, what about the cost of spending an extra $200K a year on food services -- could that cover additional K? This is the cost of keeping it "in house" You could petition our GA reps to change charter schools from lottery only to having to take those children who qualify as economically disadvantaged / low initial testing first (or at least a quota). Look at how much we pay Kingston Hill, etc -- shouldn't we have a say in who goes there since that affects all the NK schools to a degree (as you note about teacher time allocation)?
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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