Brownback pushes for all-day kindergarten

Jan 29, 2014

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback visited Roesland Elementary School in Roeland Park recently to promote his plan to fund all-day kindergarten programs. Kindergartener Wren Hillburn is cutting out a Kansas Jayhawk, and Aidan Dulya, left, watches. Shawnee Mission is one of 20 districts in the state that charge for full-day kindergarten.
Credit RICH SUGG / The Kansas City Star

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback wants to fully fund all-day kindergarten.  Brownback proposes spending $80 million for the nearly 40,000 children across the state.  He calls it a strategic investment to ensure children are better positioned to succeed in school. 

“We need all-day kindergarten,” Brownback said. “We’ve needed to do it for some period of time.”

Gayle Stuber is the early childhood coordinator for the Kansas Department of Education.  She says research shows all-day kindergarten is particularly helpful for kids who would otherwise struggle in school.

“Kindergarten has always been the gateway to education,” she said.

Budget-conscious lawmakers from his own party question the program’s lasting benefits.

“What are we going to get for this?” asked House Speaker Ray Merrick, a Johnson County Republican.

Kansas requires school districts to offer at least a half day of kindergarten according to the Education commission of the States.  Eleven states offer and pay for full-time kindergarten.

The complete story from the Wichita Eagle can be found here.