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Parents Talk: Should All-Day Kindergarten Be State Funded in Minnesota?

As a parent, do you support state funding for all-day kindergarten? Why or why not?

Among the first bills of the 2013 Minnesota Legislative session included one that would provide state funding for school districts to offer all-day kindergarten. Sen. Chuck Wiger, a co-author of a bill, said the funding would provide “an important step toward enhancing Minnesota’s commitment to quality education for all children.”

Some school districts in the Twin Cities are already providing all-day kindergarten at an extra or no cost. The Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School Board reallocated funding - $1.5 million - to fund a free, all-day kindergarten program for the 2012-13 school year. Although, some questioned the sustainability.

In the Osseo School District, some Maple Grove and Plymouth parents have the option to pay to have their children to participate in the district’s tuition-based, full-day kindergarten programs. In the Minnetonka School District, extended day kindergarten is offered for an extra fee.

Since some school districts are already offering it, should Minnesota be footing the bill?

SHARE: As parents, do you support state funding for all-day kindergarten? Why or why not? Would you use (or have you used) all-day kindergarten? Do you think it helps? Share your opinion in comments.

Irving January 17, 2013 at 06:13 PM
My already 40% economic downturn reduced paycheck was just reduced another 2% by a fiscal cliff negotiation. Do you think it's possible I could move into an all day Kindergarten facility when it's not in use by the kids? If I can't, you should probably count me as a 'NO' vote.
Jay Corn January 17, 2013 at 06:14 PM
If the state is serious about improving education, this (funding all-day kindergarten) is the first step. While some of the more wealthier districts in the state can fund it themselves, the same cannot be said for the majority of districts in rural and urban areas. This creates an uneven playing field from day No. 1. Also, as the parent of a first-grader, I can tell you that today's kindergarten isn't just finger painting and nap time. Kids today learn valuable skills, aided in some districts by smart boards and other technology, that range from problem solving and penmanship to proper behavior in school and key "sight words." I feel a financial commitment to early childhood education is the responsibility of the state, and all-day kindergarten is at the very top of the list. I'm not a funding formula wonk, but I understand it won't be "easy." Nothing worth doing ever is.
Anne January 17, 2013 at 06:34 PM
I'm currently paying $4,100 for my child to go to full day K in Minnetonka Schools. It's a wonderful program and I really do think it's a wonderful educational benefit for the kids. But, it's also a pretty large expense for the schools. I'm just not sure it's practical to ask the state or the schools to add this to their budgets right now. I'd rather see the district and the state focus on ways to cut back on spending rather than adding expensive new programs.
B. Martin January 17, 2013 at 07:05 PM
Not only is full day kindergarten a good idea to support, but I think consideration should be given to kids starting school as soon as they are out diapers.
LindaB January 17, 2013 at 07:09 PM
As a working parent of 2 little ones, I would hope a program like this would be offerred by Edina Schools. Having a school schedule that is easier to coordinate with work schedules is a significant win for us. The great programs mentioned above should be available for all children, not just those who can afford it.
Lisa January 17, 2013 at 10:00 PM
If the state of MN chooses to continue to not fund all day kindergarten, I do believe some changes need to be made within the districts who charge families for a full day option. I have huge problems with school districts, like St. Michael-Albertville, who offer a full day option for a fee and do not use a sliding fee scale or have scholarships available for families who cannot afford the full day option. Until the districts, like STMA, find a way to offer financial assistance or scholarships to families who cannot afford to send their children to the all day program, they are making the decision to divide students into two groups: the families who can afford the full day option and the families who cannot. To deny students equal opportunity to a full day option is wrong. I will never understand why the community, the school board, and administers continue to support this division.
Mark Jones January 17, 2013 at 10:22 PM
Here is an interesting link: http://www.strategiesforchildren.org/eea/6research_summaries/07_FDK_Factsheet.pdf One item of interest, during the Minnesota winter, in half day kindergarten a significant greater proportion of time is spent getting the children out of their coats and boots, settled down and then at the end of the session getting them back in their coats and boots. This means that the effective learning time of full day kindergartners is more than twice that of half day kindergarteners.
Wendy Erlien January 18, 2013 at 02:05 PM
A comment sent via email: As a parent of adult children and grandparent, I fully support funding full-day kindergarten -- for the kids' benefit and for working parents.
Patty Lentz January 18, 2013 at 03:44 PM
That makes sense!
Heyitsme January 18, 2013 at 03:46 PM
It will mean building more classrooms (adding onto schools), hiring more teachers and adding to our personal income taxes.
Pat Allen January 18, 2013 at 03:54 PM
Absolutely we must fund a full day of kindergarten. To pay for it through public funding is also a must. Therefore, I suggest we drop the senior year of high school and get our kids started in college at the end of the junior year through the post seconday options program. Maybe Northfield could be a pilot site!
Danielle Paulson January 18, 2013 at 04:30 PM
I am curious to know of those who don't support it, how many have kids? Put yourself in a parents shoes before you knock it down. I completely support it and agree that it's not fair to only offer the option to those who can afford it. I also agree that kindergaden today is not what it used to be and is a very educational environment.
George P. Burdell January 18, 2013 at 05:14 PM
I have two children and my wife is a teacher, and I believe all day kindergarden is a good idea HOWEVER.... the reason we are in the fix we are now in is because everybody wants the government to pay for every good idea.. Find something else to cut from the budget to get the money and I will support it.. I Don't care where the cuts come from...Let's live with a Budget.
Heyitsme January 19, 2013 at 09:50 PM
So says the person that wanted to ban yoga pants because girls are wearing them to attract boys.
Heyitsme January 19, 2013 at 09:52 PM
No work schedule will ever coordinate with an adult work schedule, kids would be in school from 6:30 am to 6 pm..for parents that commute
Heyitsme January 19, 2013 at 09:54 PM
Have four kids, youngest is a senior. I grew up with half day kindergarten, my girls did too, and we did preschool for two years at our expense.
Womanhearmeroar January 20, 2013 at 06:37 AM
I agree with George's comment completely! I have one kid who attended all day Kindergarten, and I did pay for it. I have two more where I will be doing the same thing. I would love to not pay for it, but I don't want to see my taxes increased to pay for it! If someone finds something else to cut from the state budget where we can use that money, I would be up for it. I'm not sure it is really necessary. Right now, there is little actual classroom education going on past when the half day kindergarteners leave school. They can't have these kids in two completely different places going into 1st grade. The full day kindergarteners get to attend all the electives like art, music, PE. They also go to lunch, lie down to rest, and have recess. The current half day kindergarteners are not really missing much other than more social interactions and the electives which can be done at home, the park, and on play dates. It is amazing how much classroom work they fit into 2-1/2 hours in the morning. The half day kids usually don't have recess and leave right before lunch time.
Al Anderson January 20, 2013 at 10:39 PM
What aspect of these efforts to have "head start:" "pre K education" and all day Kindgarten are much more about providing day care to some at everyone elses expense? I paid the full boat for my kids to go to Kindercare and the like....I fail to see why public schools need to be involved in hurting private business .... the same private businesses that pay taxes to support the schools.
Shannon January 24, 2013 at 07:16 PM
TUSHAY Mark! Good info

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