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Liv Ames for EdSource

These transitional kindergarten students at Figarden Elementary in Fresno are learning about rhythm.

After years of effort to implement transitional kindergarten, Gov. Jerry Brown wants to eliminate the requirement that school districts offer the program, which provides an extra year of public school for 4-year-olds with fall birthdays. His proposal would also allow districts that offer it to charge enrollment fees for parents who aren’t low-income.

The proposal, which is part of the 2016-17 state budget, creates uncertainty for the future of transitional kindergarten. Many early education advocates saw it as a first step toward establishing a publicly funded program for all 4-year-olds. Just this past year, legislators allowed districts to expand the program to younger 4-year-olds, with some funding restrictions. And a recent research report found the program was effective in preparing students for kindergarten.

“The governor’s proposal comes squarely in the face of a fully implemented program that no one wants to give up,” said Erin Gabel, deputy director of external and governmental affairs at First 5 California. “Eliminating it as an entitlement with a stable funding source is a step backwards.”

Brown wants to combine funding for transitional kindergarten and for low-income students attending state preschools into one $1.6 billion early learning block grant that must be used to provide pre-K programs for low-income students. The amount is the same as in last year’s budget with an additional 3 percent cost-of-living increase.

“Transitional kindergarten provides services for children in a narrow age window, regardless of their family’s income or need for additional services,” according to the 2016-17 state budget proposal. The proposal would “better target services to low-income and at-risk children and their families,” the budget states, and would “result in greater local financial flexibility.”

Students focus on their teacher's questions in a transitional kindergarten class at Figarden Elementary in Fresno.

Liv Ames for EdSource

Students focus on their teacher’s questions in a transitional kindergarten class at Figarden Elementary in Fresno.

Currently, school districts receive transitional kindergarten funding for children who turn 5 in the fall based on enrollment in the program regardless of family income. Under Brown’s plan, state funds for the new block grant could be used only for programs for low-income children and it would be up to districts to define that income level. Future funding would follow Local Control Funding Formula rules, with more funding going to districts with higher concentrations of low-income students and English learners.

Districts would decide how to use the money they receive for those students. A district could eliminate its transitional kindergarten program and focus on preschool, offer it for only low-income students, or keep its current program and use other funds to pay for higher-income students. If the governor’s plan is adopted, the Department of Finance is suggesting that the state take a year to transition to the new funding system.

In 2010, California passed the Kindergarten Readiness Act, which moved back the cutoff birthdate for kindergarten from Dec. 2 to Sept. 1 and allowed the older 4-year-olds – those born from Sept. 2 through Dec. 2 – to still attend public school by enrolling in transitional kindergarten. The transitional kindergarten program was phased in over three years and is now fully implemented.

Under a recent change in the law, districts can also expand the program to include younger 4-year-olds – those born after Dec. 2 – but districts do not receive state funding until those children turn 5. Currently, districts receive funds for transitional kindergarten students based on the average daily attendance in those classes, as they do for other students in the K-12 system.

The governor’s proposal is an effort to channel funding currently going to higher-income families to those children most at risk and in need of a quality preschool program, said H.D. Palmer, spokesman for the California Department of Finance. He said districts could charge families who aren’t low-income a fee, similar to fees charged for state preschool during the recession. But officials from several districts have said they don’t plan to pursue that option.

“It’s not fair to take money from one set of kids to pay for another set of kids,” said Khydeeja Alam Javid, a lobbyist with the Advancement Project. “You’re creating friction between low-income and not-so-low-income families – that’s a new low for a progressive state.”

While the governor’s proposal says the priority should be children with the most needs, many early education advocates see it differently.

“It’s not fair to take money from one set of kids to pay for another set of kids,” said Khydeeja Alam Javid, a lobbyist with the Advancement Project, a national civil rights organization active in California. “You’re creating friction between low-income and not-so-low-income families – that’s a new low for a progressive state.”

Some higher-income parents say they would be willing to pay for a quality transitional kindergarten program if it would better prepare their child for kindergarten.

Beenish Tasawwar, a middle-class mother who lives in Manteca in San Joaquin County, has a daughter with an October birthday, so she would qualify for transitional kindergarten under the current program. If Brown’s plan is enacted and she loses her eligibility, Tasawwar said she would be willing to pay for transitional kindergarten if the program was a good one. She currently is paying for preschool.

“Quality would be everything to me,” she said. “If the cost is similar to what I am paying now, pay would be the last thing I would look at.”

“I don’t think it’s a terrible thing in general to ask middle-class families to pay for transitional kindergarten,” said Oakland parent Anna Levine, who opposes the governor’s proposal. “I’m willing to pay something, and maybe there are creative ways to supplement funding.”

Other parents, such as Anna Levine, whose son would be eligible for transitional kindergarten in three years under the current program, have mixed feelings.

The Oakland parent says she opposes the proposal and is disheartened that the program as it is currently operating might end. But in her work as an attorney for the nonprofit Child Care Law Center in San Francisco, she also understands the need for the state to focus funding on the lowest-income families.

“I don’t think it’s a terrible thing in general to ask middle-class families to pay for transitional kindergarten,” Levine said. “I’m willing to pay something, and maybe there are creative ways to supplement funding.”

The transitional kindergarten program has received a positive evaluation from the American Institutes for Research, which found that children who had attended transitional kindergarten had stronger language, literacy and math skills compared with slightly younger 4-year-olds who weren’t in the program. They also were better at remembering classroom rules and controlling impulses.

“This unique approach to early education in California – which serves children in a narrow age range on elementary school campuses, with credentialed teachers holding bachelor’s degrees and a curriculum aligned with kindergarten – appears to better prepare students for kindergarten than what they might have received in the absence of the program,” according to the report.

In its analysis of the governor’s proposal, the Legislative Analyst’s Office is recommending that, from an equity standpoint, the state define low-income, rather than rely on districts to come up with their own definition. For state preschool, a family of three must earn $42,500 a year or less to be considered low-income, which is much too low, advocates say.

“Child care doesn’t suddenly become affordable when you make $43,000 a year,” Gabel said.

Brown’s proposal does not preclude districts from using other funds including parent fees to supplement a transitional kindergarten program for higher-income parents. However, many district leaders say they would not charge parents for the program.

Chris Steinhauser, superintendent of Long Beach Unified, said that he supports the block grant, “but we wouldn’t have our middle-class families pay.”

Anne Zemen, who is in charge of curriculum and instruction for elementary schools at Twin Rivers Unified in Sacramento, said the overall proposal is interesting “but I can’t imagine we would entertain charging middle-income parents. They are economically challenged already.”

Craig Wells, assistant superintendent of human resources at Stockton Unified in San Joaquin County, said most of the families in his district are low-income and setting up a payment structure and collecting fees would not be worthwhile.

He said he is also philosophically opposed. “I’m in favor of universal preschool,” he said, “and this is antithetical to that.”

Amy Slavensky oversees transitional kindergarten as the early childhood education director at San Juan Unified in Sacramento. She said she likes that the governor’s proposal provides more flexibility, one of the purposes of moving to increase local district control of funding. But she is not supportive of charging families.

“It’s a matter of integrity,” Slavensky said. “If we’re doing what’s right or best for families, how does it make sense to take it away or charge for it?”

Slavensky said her district of about 49,000 students would be able to manage a redesign of transitional kindergarten and preschool. But, she said, “a small or mid-sized district might just drop it.”

This is not the first time transitional kindergarten has been part of the budget discussion. In 2012, Brown wanted to end the program to pump more funds into a struggling K-12 school system. But legislators resisted, and no change was made to the program.

Joe Simitian, now on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, was the state senator who authored the Kindergarten Readiness Act. He said he finds it frustrating that the issue is being brought up again.

“We made the decision not once, but twice,” he said. “When are we going to let parents and districts move forward and enjoy the benefits of transitional kindergarten?”

State Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, is currently the point person for legislators on this issue.

“There are a lot of public policy implications,” he said of Brown’s budget proposal. “I welcome the conversation. It’s a weighty and a meaty issue with lots of subplots.”

 


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  1. Emma 1 month ago1 month ago

    My daughter turns five on August 27th and will be starting kindergarten at the age of four (almost five); three of her best friends turn five in September, and are just two to three weeks younger than my daughter. My daughter’s friends are going to get a year of free transitional kindergarten and be two weeks shy their sixth birthday when they enter kindergarten. How is this a fair system as it stands? It makes no logical sense as it is.

  2. Peter 1 month ago1 month ago

    Zita, I agree! I've searched for a logical argument for offering this to the oldest group of a future, new kindergarten class without success. There are nice lists of all the wonderful benefits which are hard to argue with. The logic behind offering it to the least at-risk children with all other things being equal, defies understanding. It seems it was implemented as a way of pacifying parents of children who would otherwise … Read More

    Zita, I agree! I’ve searched for a logical argument for offering this to the oldest group of a future, new kindergarten class without success. There are nice lists of all the wonderful benefits which are hard to argue with. The logic behind offering it to the least at-risk children with all other things being equal, defies understanding. It seems it was implemented as a way of pacifying parents of children who would otherwise start kindergarten during the three year phase down from December to September.

  3. Zita 1 month ago1 month ago

    How is TK as it stands even legal? We are using taxpayer public funds to offer a free year of education to a subset of the population, arbitrarily based on a birthdate? Not to mention we are offering the free year to the most developmentally advanced group when they do enter kinder. It either needs to be offered to all, regardless of birthday, to low-income, or get rid of it and use … Read More

    How is TK as it stands even legal? We are using taxpayer public funds to offer a free year of education to a subset of the population, arbitrarily based on a birthdate? Not to mention we are offering the free year to the most developmentally advanced group when they do enter kinder. It either needs to be offered to all, regardless of birthday, to low-income, or get rid of it and use the current money to offset the cost of preschool for low income people. As it stands, it seems as if it discriminates based on age. Not sure how that is legal.

  4. April 1 month ago1 month ago

    I think TK should be free for everyone forever I am middle income and I pay my taxes. I’m sick of supporting everyone and getting unequal rights!

  5. janet 4 months ago4 months ago

    Being a dual credentialed teacher (multiple subjects and special education), I'm an advocate for all children's right to quality education. Unfortunately in my district, the rights of one group has come at a great cost to another. Has anyone investigated the impact that transitional kindergarten has had on special education programs? In my school district, we once had several classrooms that were designed for the moderate to severely disabled population. These classrooms … Read More

    Being a dual credentialed teacher (multiple subjects and special education), I’m an advocate for all children’s right to quality education. Unfortunately in my district, the rights of one group has come at a great cost to another.

    Has anyone investigated the impact that transitional kindergarten has had on special education programs? In my school district, we once had several classrooms that were designed for the moderate to severely disabled population. These classrooms included kitchens and bathrooms. Since the advent of TK, these special classrooms have been taken away one by one from the disabled students and given to transitional kindergarten students. Both programs need bathrooms, but it must be cheaper to remove a kitchen than it is to add a bathroom to an existing structure. I’m curious to know if other school districts are doing the same.

  6. Kevin 4 months ago4 months ago

    Simply put: Private schools do it better - heavily regulated; child to teacher ratios are strictly enforced; and most operate because they love the kids more than a huge paycheck. Sadly, most facilities cannot fight "free" programs that do not even have early childhood specialists, have out of whack child to teacher ratios, etc. Most important - those people that can afford funding pre-school take the "free" route and are driving the cost through the … Read More

    Simply put: Private schools do it better – heavily regulated; child to teacher ratios are strictly enforced; and most operate because they love the kids more than a huge paycheck. Sadly, most facilities cannot fight “free” programs that do not even have early childhood specialists, have out of whack child to teacher ratios, etc. Most important – those people that can afford funding pre-school take the “free” route and are driving the cost through the roof. For once I agree with the Governor.

  7. FloydThursby1941 4 months ago4 months ago

    I disagree. A very important stat showed 60% of Asian American kids start Kindergarten knowing how to read and do math and knowing their site words, vs. only 16% of white Kindergartners and lower percentages of other groups. Early education is huge, plus learning a work ethic, learning successful kids read daily, do homework first, study weekends and summers, memorize flashcards. We don't need Pre-K to be all study, but 2-3 hours … Read More

    I disagree. A very important stat showed 60% of Asian American kids start Kindergarten knowing how to read and do math and knowing their site words, vs. only 16% of white Kindergartners and lower percentages of other groups.

    Early education is huge, plus learning a work ethic, learning successful kids read daily, do homework first, study weekends and summers, memorize flashcards. We don’t need Pre-K to be all study, but 2-3 hours should be sight words, flashcards, reading and counting, the rest can be art and play, you still play plenty 5-6 hours. No one is saying never play, but learn the discipline of doing something challenging for 2.5 hours a day. That discipline and early knowledge is priceless. It’s the key reason Asians develop a work ethic which leads them to spend over twice as many hours a week studying in middle and high school and get into top colleges. We need to instill this in every child and educate parents.

  8. John 4 months ago4 months ago

    I would like to bring attention to research which suggests that transitional kindergarten is not necessarily the panacea that everyone makes it out to be...especially considering that it would immerse children in "seat-based" academic work too early. Kindergarten in most school districts is bad enough. Let the children PLAY before "committing" them to an additional year of kindergarten in the common-core oriented public school system. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Stanford study finds improved self-regulation in kindergartners who wait … Read More

    I would like to bring attention to research which suggests that transitional kindergarten is not necessarily the panacea that everyone makes it out to be…especially considering that it would immerse children in “seat-based” academic work too early. Kindergarten in most school districts is bad enough. Let the children PLAY before “committing” them to an additional year of kindergarten in the common-core oriented public school system.
    ————————————————————————-
    Stanford study finds improved self-regulation in kindergartners who wait a year to enroll

    A new study on the mental health effects of kindergarten enrollment ages found strong evidence that a one-year delay dramatically improves a child’s self-regulation abilities even into later childhood.

    According to the study co-authored by Stanford Graduate School of Education Professor Thomas Dee, children who started kindergarten a year later showed significantly lower levels of inattention and hyperactivity, which are jointly considered a key indicator of self regulation. The beneficial result was found to persist even at age 11.

    “We found that delaying kindergarten for one year reduced inattention and hyperactivity by 73 percent for an average child at age 11,” Dee said, “and it virtually eliminated the probability that an average child at that age would have an ‘abnormal,’ or higher-than-normal rating for the inattentive-hyperactive behavioral measure.”

    Findings from the study, which Dee co-authored with Hans Henrik Sievertsen of the Danish National Centre for Social Research, could help parents in the recurring debate over the pros and cons of a later school entry.

    Prolonging play

    The study’s findings also align with other research that has shown an extended period of early childhood play – such as in preschools – yields mental health developmental gains.

    As a result, Dee said he hopes his research will lead to broader examinations on how kindergarten is taught. It could be pedagogy pointed more toward play rather than structured academics.

    “It’s not just a question of when do you start kindergarten, but what do you do in those kindergarten classes?” Dee said. “If you make kindergarten the new first grade, then parents may sensibly decide to delay entry. If kindergarten is not the new first grade, then parents may not delay children’s entries as much…”

    Read the rest of the article here at the Stanford Graduate School of Education News Center.
    https://ed.stanford.edu/news/stanford-gse-research-finds-strong-evidence-mental-health-benefits-delaying-kindergarten

  9. Adam 6 months ago6 months ago

    I strongly feel that state should empower private preschools and give every child a decent education. Every child needs the same standard of education. Attending a private preschool should not be a privilege that only affluent children can afford. The state should continue to subsidize children of low income families to go to a preschool by educating them about the programs that are available. I have a preschool, and I do more services compared … Read More

    I strongly feel that state should empower private preschools and give every child a decent education. Every child needs the same standard of education.

    Attending a private preschool should not be a privilege that only affluent children can afford. The state should continue to subsidize children of low income families to go to a preschool by educating them about the programs that are available.

    I have a preschool, and I do more services compared with the state. I have many students who are not low income but can not afford the tuition and pay what the parents can afford. Even a baby in my infant center.

    I recently had a child whose parents lost their jobs, and I am keeping him for free. I do not get any help even for the free food I provide – breakfast, lunch and snacks. I only a draw a salary and I do not have any profits. I could have earned more if I worked elsewhere with my qualifications and fewer headaches with state licensing and state regulations. But at the end of the day, I enjoy what I do. If I touch a life of one child, that is all what matters.

    The private sector should have a voice, too. We pay taxes as well.

  10. Steve Anthony 6 months ago6 months ago

    This is so absolutely frustrating. Our district has finally (as of the 2015-2016 school year) made TK a stand-alone classroom, after having had TK students combined with K for the past three years--making the TK students do the same curriculum. I volunteered to do TK this year, along with 6 others in the district, and it has been a very rewarding experience for both the students and myself. It would be a … Read More

    This is so absolutely frustrating. Our district has finally (as of the 2015-2016 school year) made TK a stand-alone classroom, after having had TK students combined with K for the past three years–making the TK students do the same curriculum. I volunteered to do TK this year, along with 6 others in the district, and it has been a very rewarding experience for both the students and myself. It would be a shame to have it “go by the wayside.”

  11. Ada J. Hand 7 months ago7 months ago

    Who would have expected a Democrat to be holding young children hostage? TK has been a Godsend to children and families — getting quality education and a good start to school. Now let’s balance the budget on the backs of kids. Too mean, Governor Brown!

  12. Anna Levine 7 months ago7 months ago

    While I understand space constraints, I believe that my comments, quoted in the article, risk being misunderstood without the further context that I offered in conversation with the author. My statement that maybe there are creative ways to supplement funding was not a statement in support of the Administration’s suggestion that school districts fund Transitional Kindergarten (TK) by charging fees to middle class families. Indeed, I doubt whether districts legally can charge fees for school-based TK … Read More

    While I understand space constraints, I believe that my comments, quoted in the article, risk being misunderstood without the further context that I offered in conversation with the author.

    My statement that maybe there are creative ways to supplement funding was not a statement in support of the Administration’s suggestion that school districts fund Transitional Kindergarten (TK) by charging fees to middle class families. Indeed, I doubt whether districts legally can charge fees for school-based TK programs. The California Department of Education’s own TK website confirms that state constitutional and regulatory barriers prevent schools from charging fees for TK. See http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/gs/em/kinderfaq.asp#funding (“According to 5 CCR Section 350, a pupil enrolled in a school, defined as a California public school, shall not be required to pay any fee, deposit, or other charge not specifically authorized by law. This regulation stems from Title IX of the California Constitution, which guarantees a system of free public schools.”)

    I mentioned in conversation two creative ways currently in use to supplement funding for preschool programs. The first is through so-called “title 5” preschool programs that are not “fully contracted,” and instead contract to offer half of their spaces at little or no cost to low-income families, while maintaining half on the free market for purchase by families, with or without child care and early education vouchers. The second is Preschool For All, which First 5 San Francisco administers through a mixed delivery system of community-based, public/private programs. Neither of these ways for targeting resources to low-income families while serving a broad range of income levels speaks to funding for school-based transitional kindergarten programs. Both use community-based programs, which as Linda Asato writes below, more readily meet the full-day/full year needs of California’s working families. Some contract with Local Education Agencies (LEAs), but many do not. The governor’s proposal, which eliminates the California State Preschool Program (CSPP) and directs all early education funding through Local Education Agencies, does not mesh as well as our current funding system with either of these two approaches.

    The governor’s proposal would eliminate the historic entitlement to school for children who turn 5 by September of the year they enter school. By consolidating TK, which is based on Average Daily Attendance, into a limited block grant with the discretionary CSPP, the proposal threatens to reduce overall funding and public early education opportunities for children birth to age 5. These and other reasons for my opposition to the governor’s proposal, are explained in the Child Care Law Center’s summary of concerns that advocates have expressed about the Early Education Block Grant. (http://childcarelaw.org/tag/early-education-block-grant/)

    Replies

    • Susan Frey 7 months ago7 months ago

      My understanding is that if the governor’s proposal is supported by the Legislature, legislators will have to change the law that created transitional kindergarten.

  13. Maggie 7 months ago7 months ago

    I think preschool for all 4-year-olds is great, but why not fund all the existing preschools to accommodate them. They're more set up to work with this age group. I have a BIG problem with the TK programs as most of the teachers have no Early Childhood Education Units. A credentialed teacher for preschool should be teaching this group. The same 4-year-olds in a preschool have a one to 12 ratio, can't go to the … Read More

    I think preschool for all 4-year-olds is great, but why not fund all the existing preschools to accommodate them. They’re more set up to work with this age group. I have a BIG problem with the TK programs as most of the teachers have no Early Childhood Education Units. A credentialed teacher for preschool should be teaching this group.

    The same 4-year-olds in a preschool have a one to 12 ratio, can’t go to the bathroom by themselves and are then allowed to go to the public school and have a 1:20+ ratio and leave the building to go to the bathroom by themselves. The rules are not the same and should be. If we want all 4-year-olds to have education it needs to be quality. The districts are ONLY looking for money. If a preschool meets quality standards, then funding for students as well as teacher should go to programs…..private or state funded who meet this criteria.
    Governor Brown has NO CLUE.

  14. Tom 7 months ago7 months ago

    Of course extra school time for younger kids, ESL, or low-income families is a good idea and can only help the kids and the families. Once again we see however, that good ideas cost money and Jerry Brown is now trying to get someone else to help pay for it. Call me suspicious, but is there a correlation with his reelection and the original TK program? After all, it created lots of new … Read More

    Of course extra school time for younger kids, ESL, or low-income families is a good idea and can only help the kids and the families. Once again we see however, that good ideas cost money and Jerry Brown is now trying to get someone else to help pay for it. Call me suspicious, but is there a correlation with his reelection and the original TK program? After all, it created lots of new union members, and he would have benefitted from this. Having said that, I can see families who can afford it will pay some type of fee to get TK/preschool. Must be convenient and flexible per the discussion from Linda below, and competitive, privately run programs are much more flexible to parent concerns than the public schools.

  15. Marie Ibsen 7 months ago7 months ago

    I am a TK teacher and before this a kindergarten teacher. For 33 years I have advocated for this very important change of moving the entrance date for Kindergarten. These TK students are unique in that they enter as preschool functioning kids and quickly change as they turn 5 in their ability to handle both developmental and academic activities and challenges. They have great needs in social skill building and attention and focus. I believe that … Read More

    I am a TK teacher and before this a kindergarten teacher. For 33 years I have advocated for this very important change of moving the entrance date for Kindergarten. These TK students are unique in that they enter as preschool functioning kids and quickly change as they turn 5 in their ability to handle both developmental and academic activities and challenges. They have great needs in social skill building and attention and focus.

    I believe that all California children should have access to the highest quality educational programs and the best trained early childhood educators that this Great State of California can provide. It is crazy to even think about locking out anyone, rich or poor or middle class. We are just becoming a stabilized part of the TK to 12 public education system. There should not be any changes, just enhancements made to TK. We should be creating the opportunities for all kids to attend and leave the programs that so many have put so much time and effort into creating in place.

    The State of California needs to regain its integrity and pride and support all TK teachers and students. This is one more example of being cheap and not recognizing that TK for all will save money in the long run. More TK’s will help lower incarceration rates. Educate not incarcerate! Also, bouncing us around will create disharmony in the neighborhoods. The middle class will choose not to send their kids if they have to pay and besides, the middle class is also poor. We cannot even afford our rent or to buy homes and most have high student loan debt.

    Point me in the direction of who I need to talk to in terms of advocating to make TK open for all and at its present or enhanced funding level. End the unstable thinking regarding TK.

  16. Jonathan Raymond 7 months ago7 months ago

    How is this shift educationally sound for children? With Transitional Kindergarten, California was at the national front in early childhood education. The benefits of an extra year for our youngest children is being well documented (not to mention the increased quality of instruction with a certificated teacher). School districts were so slow to get into this work when the law was first passed. Now the plan is to take the pressure … Read More

    How is this shift educationally sound for children? With Transitional Kindergarten, California was at the national front in early childhood education. The benefits of an extra year for our youngest children is being well documented (not to mention the increased quality of instruction with a certificated teacher). School districts were so slow to get into this work when the law was first passed. Now the plan is to take the pressure off school districts to do what’s right for children?

  17. Robert Arias 7 months ago7 months ago

    Another “well intended” (but poorly funded) program goes by the wayside. Unless our Legislature produces an addendum to the recently renewed budget for Compulsory Education, and adds Transitional Kindergarten (TK) as a “requirement” (along with kindergarten), we will never have secure and self-sustaining funding for it.

  18. Linda Asato 7 months ago7 months ago

    This is not just a "if you (school districts) build it, they (low-income families) will come", unless it also meets the needs of the family. For parents working full time, or full year, a 6 hour, academic year may not work for them. The current state subsidized preschool system also includes contracting out to community based child development centers. These community based sites often have longer hours, and operate full year, which … Read More

    This is not just a “if you (school districts) build it, they (low-income families) will come”, unless it also meets the needs of the family. For parents working full time, or full year, a 6 hour, academic year may not work for them. The current state subsidized preschool system also includes contracting out to community based child development centers. These community based sites often have longer hours, and operate full year, which better enable families to place their preschooler in while the parent/guardian works or goes to school. The Block Grant proposal to funnel all preschool funds through school districts (while they can choose to subcontract out to community organizations), also impacts these community based institutions of support for parents.

  19. Gina 7 months ago7 months ago

    Has any research about the effectiveness of TK programs factored out age as a variable? These children are starting kindergarten as the oldest kids in the class, and that could contribute to their stronger language, literacy and math skills. I think we are creating a huge gap between the oldest third of the class and the younger classmates who did not get the benefit of state-funded TK.

    Replies

    • Susan Frey 7 months ago7 months ago

      The AIR researchers say their study factors out age. Your comment speaks to the irony that the kids considered most underprepared for kindergarten are now the most prepared. In the AIR study, 80 percent of the students who did not participate in transitional kindergarten had attended preschool, so it suggests that a transitional kindergarten experience better prepares students for kindergarten. AIR plans to look at whether the impact is a lasting one as the students move on to 1st grade.

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