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Archive for Thursday, September 28, 2000

Legislators consider all-day kindergarten

September 28, 2000

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— A Wamego parent told legislators Wednesday that all-day kindergarten should be offered as an option, not forced on toddlers.

Chris Wilson told members of a legislative committee on elementary and secondary education that half-day kindergarten was the right choice for her daughter.

Wilson said her daughter, a third-grader at Wamego West Elementary School, received a good education and has reading skills that surpass her grade level.

She also noted that her daughter was ready for a nap at the end of her half-day sessions. Wilson said her daughter later said she was glad she didn't have to go to all-day kindergarten, which the Wamego district now offers as an option.

"There are kids who aren't ready and shouldn't be forced into that cookie-cutter approach," Wilson said.

Last month, the Kansas State Board of Education included $52.5 million in its proposed budget to offer all-day kindergarten during the 2001-02 school year. The budget requires approval from the Legislature, which is expected next year to address the way the state finances education.

Board member Val DeFever, a Republican from Independence, Kan., emphasized that the board merely wants to offer all-day kindergarten as an option for parents.

House Education Chairman Ralph Tanner said he is concerned that all-day kindergarten has more to do with socializing children than educating them.

Tanner, R-Baldwin, said he fears the proposal may be "some sort of Orwellian idea."

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