The reading I did in Kindergarten was not much more than M-A-T, C-A-T, S-A-T, and H-A-T. Math and reading sentences were learned in the first grade. Of course, we did not have full-day kindergarten in 1975.
Full-day Kindergarten is something that has been benefiting Arizona's kids since 2006. It gives kids the jump start they need, and provides them with a solid foundation for learning. It is a wise investment for the future of our children, as well as our country.
However, full-day Kindergarten is being threatened by state budget cuts. State lawmakers are looking to cut $300 million from Arizona schools and full-day kindergarten is on the chopping block. Full-day Kindergarten costs on average $100 million a year.
Some of the rumored cutbacks (besides returning to the old half-day kindergarten schedule) include reducing the textbook budget to zero within a couple of years, eliminating math and science initiatives, cutting allocations for gifted education, and reducing teacher salaries. The budget cuts, if they become reality, will wipe out thousands of jobs, end all-day kindergarten, cut the number of school days from 180 to 175, lead to huge class sizes and even four-day school weeks. Arizona currently ranks 49th among the 50 states in educational funding, and would lose more than $1,000 per child under the proposed budget cuts, educators said.
Education administrators are angered by the proposed budget cuts. Gary Nine, Ed.D., superintendent of the Florence Unified School District is planning a rally at the Capitol Sunday afternoon to protest the cuts. Nine has written a heated essay, condemning the budget proposals.
"I sent it out to my board first and our principals and our teachers and to superintendents around the state," Nine said. "The reaction has been very positive, kind of unbelievably so."
In Nine's essay, Nine writes that "maybe it's time for a reverse Boston tea party in Arizona."
"On Sunday from 1-3 p.m., my wife and I are going to have a picnic at the Capitol plaza and afterwards will politely leave a request to the Legislature to show respect for the children and the average citizens of Arizona. It probably won't be as much fun as we had watching the Cardinals this past Sunday, but if you'd like to join us there's no telling what might happen."
Come on Arizona State Legislature! Let's not loose sight that these kids are our future!
“Investing wisely in education yields real results for workers, business and society in general.” - Economic Policy Institute President Lawrence Mishel.