Letter to the Editor: Better than what?
I was very disturbed to hear an interview on the radio with our school superintendent about full-day kindergarten. He said that kindergarten children do better when they are in school all day. Better than what? My children certainly never suffered by being home with me. He made the comment that children can be trained like animals to stay awake for that period of time. Why would a parent ever want to train their child like an animal when it is normal for a child of that age to need rest and parental contact?
There are many studies on full-day kindergarten and you can find any number that will extol the virtues of full-day kindergarten and just as many that will tell of its bad consequences. One thing that you rarely hear, but that most of them agree on, is that the positive affects are negligible after first grade.
Many communist governments have maintained that taking very young children away from their parents is optimum because the government is better able to teach. Is that what we are moving towards? How beneficial is it to society to take away the responsibility and opportunity for parents to raise and teach their own children?
We see each generation turning more and more of its child-rearing responsibilities over to other people. We already use many tax dollars to fund head start programs. These may be beneficial, but the most important teaching and nurturing a child can receive is in the home. I hear complaints from educators about parents not being involved in their children's education, and yet the school district is sending the message that they are much better at raising children than parents are.
Our full-day kindergarten is funded by the bond that was recently passed and raised all of our taxes. Instead of using that money to improve exiting programs, lower class sizes, or improve facilities, we are using if for baby sitting. I feel that this money could be much better used to strengthening programs we already have in place.