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Posted at 7:44 PM ET, 02/ 4/2010

Fighting for Fairfax kindergartners

By editors

By Eric Boyle

Regarding the Feb. 2 Metro article “Banding together in protest”:

As the parent of two children in Fairfax County Public Schools, I, too, have been fighting to protect programs. But I was disappointed that this article focused only on the pageantry and the preparation skills of the protesters. The discussion should also include the impact on academic achievement and return on investment.

I am working with dozens of Fairfax parents who are deeply concerned about full-day kindergarten. Some of us have opened Facebook groups; we also have online petitions with hundreds of signatures; and we are vigorously writing to our elected officials.

Those most affected by these cuts include people who may not be fully cognizant of the ongoing discussions — parents of incoming kindergartners, especially from poorer or immigrant communities. By investing in those children’s educations early, Fairfax could save future expenditures to help some of these children catch up to their peers.

At a recent budget hearing, when I pleaded my case just as passionately as those in band uniform or speaking foreign languages, I noted that the children I’m fighting for couldn’t attend. It was already past their bedtime.

By editors  | February 4, 2010; 7:44 PM ET
Categories:  Fairfax County, HotTopic, schools  
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Well said Eric! Let's keep full-day kindergarten!

Posted by: yetanotherpassword | February 6, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

As the parent of a rising kindergartener in FCPS, I definitely would prefer to keep all day kindergarten. This is especially true as my older daughter had the benefit of all day kindergarten and was doing challenging work from an early age. I also don't see why we can't cut more sports, which can be enriching but are not critical to core academic skills in any way.

That said, I don't believe it's the end of the world if my son attends half-day kindergarten next year. Back in 1979, I was dropped into a half-day kindergarten class in FCPS at age 4, unable to speak any English, with no preschool or daycare experience, and after the school year had started. We learned our letters and played with blocks. It worked out. I passed kindergarten, did fine at TJHSS&T, did fine as an undergrad MIT, and eventually wound up with 3 graduate degrees (including a PhD).

It's not the end of the world.

Posted by: yh132 | February 7, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

It is our responsibility to give these children the time they need to learn in the way a five year old learns, so they are prepared for first grade. Our children are entering first grade with academic demands that weren’t even there ten years ago.

We cannot afford to lose our kindergarten teachers who navigate our children through their first year of school.
How do we ask a five year old to come up to speed with half of the instructional time we give to every other student in our schools?
How do we ask our youngest learners to bear the brunt of our underfunding of education?

We also testified at the school board hearings in support of full day kindergarten and other cuts to core curriculum. We are the parents of a kindergartener thriving in full day K at our neighborhood school.

I signed this petition

Posted by: marybethh | February 7, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

How much of this is really about getting government-paid daycare? I bet it's a lot.

Posted by: c5flteng | February 8, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

We're talking about kindergarten. If parents want to pay for full day then send them to private school or pay for it. The kids learn more at home then kindergarten class. Do they still make them take naps? I find it funny how some refer to them as rising kindergartener as opposed to falling.... If the parents are concerned, just spend an hour or two reading with them at home. why should fairfax taxpayers pay for all day Kindergarten so kids can learn english? Agree, it's more daycare then anything.

Posted by: larry40 | February 8, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

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