- Arizona has only funded half-day kindergarten since 2010, five years after then-Gov. Janet Napolitano scraped together the funding for full-day programs by offering Republicans a 10% income tax cut.
- Capitol Media Services reports the state legislature is deep into a debate over whether it is time to reallocate full-day funding, but how to pay for it is still an open question as the 10% income tax cut is still in place.
- Lisa Fink, president of the Choice Academies charter schools, lobbied the Board of Education Monday, saying additional money for early childhood could be directed toward vision and hearing screenings to have a greater impact on long-term learning than full-day kindergarten, and Republican lawmakers want to make sure parents know full-day programs would be optional, even if the state fully funds them.
States have varying compulsory attendance laws, all of which have not been touched since the early 1900s. Only a handful of states require students to attend at five years old — Pennsylvania and Washington do not require students to attend school until they are eight years old. In Arizona, compulsory attendance starts at six. With this backdrop, many cities and states are considering their options for expanding high-quality preschool, recognizing it is best for children to get formal academic support as early as possible.
In New York City, the conversation is about pre-K, not kindergarten. Thousands of seats have been converted from half-day to full-day and 2,000 additional teachers have been hired to serve these students as well as the thousands of new seats that have been created in a push for universal pre-K. The Hechinger Report calls New York a model for the nation in its focus on professionalization of the teaching force and the care with which it is taking its program to scale.