Full Day Kindergarten in Massachusetts (page 2)
One of the goals of the Early Education for All (EEA) Campaign is to ensure access to high-quality, full school-day public kindergarten for all families who desire it.
Kindergarten in Massachusetts Today
The mandatory school age for children in Massachusetts is six. Current Massachusetts regulations mandate that 425 hours – 2.5 hours per day for the academic school year – of kindergarten be provided by all public school districts and be made available to all children. More and more districts in Massachusetts are able to offer full-day kindergarten, but there is wide variation as to how kindergarten is implemented from district to district. Many of Massachusetts’ kindergarteners still remain in half-day classrooms, and when districts offer full-day kindergarten, there is often a high demand for limited slots, requiring families to submit to a lottery or a waiting list. Additionally, many school districts require families to pay a fee for their children’s participation in full-day kindergarten,and these fees vary widely.
Initiatives Currently Underway in Massachusetts
In Fiscal Year 2000, the Commonwealth began a long-term plan to support cities and towns in the transition to full-day kindergarten programs with the creation of the Massachusetts Department of Education's Kindergarten Development Grant program. With the support of a broad coalition, EEA was able to help secure $10 million in increased investments for Full-Day Kindergarten (FDK) Expansion Grants since FY06. Currently 66% of Massachusetts’s kindergarteners are in full-day public school kindergarten, up from 38% in FY00.
EEA's Current Work
In order to expand access to full-day kindergarten, EEA is currently advocating for increased funding for the Kindergarten Development Grant Program in the FY09 state budget.
Reprinted with the permission of the Early Education for All Campaign. © Strategies for Children / Early Education for All. All rights reserved.
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