This fall, the Washington Legislature compromised on a supplemental state budget that begins catching up to the needs of teachers and children in Washington State.
The budget continues a 10-year phase-in of full-day kindergarten, while giving teachers half a percent salary increase (on top of their annual cost-of-living-adjustment) to make up for pay increases suspended in years past.
Points to legislators for avoiding a potentially ugly “teachers vs. kids” scenario. Our teachers deserve more than that, and so do our kids. But 10 years is still too long time to wait for the proven benefits of full-day-kindergarten.
It looks like the Tacoma and Gig Harbor school districts feel the same way. They’ve chosen not to wait on the state, and instead to use a combination of state money and dollars diverted from other programs to pay for all-day kindergarten for every child.
According to the News Tribune:
Educators across the nation are hunting for and finding money to pay for as many full-day kindergarten classes as they can. They’re pinning dollars on the idea – and research – that full-day kindergarten might help erase the achievement gap between upper- and middle-class white students and their counterparts of color or poverty or both. They also say that a full-day start to school benefits kids of all races and economic situations.
Despite evidence that full-day kindergarten helps to enable the success of our children and families and enhance the state’s economic vitality, availability of full-day kindergarten in Washington is limited and funding remains inadequate.
All children deserve the best chance to succeed, and a quality education lays the foundation for a thriving society. Here’s hoping next year’s state budget brings “full-day K” to the other 80% of Washington’s kids.