Republicans love to complain that our current education system is failing our children, yet when they are presented with a strong solution to boost early education, they adamantly reject it.
Earlier this month, New Hampshire legislators were given the opportunity to expand the state’s kindergarten program from half-day to full day. The bill, HB 1563, would simply provide additional state funds for schools who are already offering full day kindergarten and those who switch from half-day to full day.
“Full-day kindergarten helps make sure that students build the strong base of learning they will need to succeed throughout school and life,” wrote the National Education Association. “Full-day kindergarten can produce long-term educational gains, especially for low-income and minority students.”
The benefits of full-day kindergarten are well documented. According to research compiled by the Children’s National Defense Fund they found that children:
- Are more prepared for school: they do better with the transition to first grade, show significant gains in school socialization and are equipped with stronger learning skills
- Have higher academic achievement in later grades
- Have better attendance in kindergarten and through the primary grades
- Show faster gains on literacy and language measures when compared to half-day kindergarten students
- Have enhanced social, emotional and behavior development
- Have reduced retention and remediation rates.
These are substantial gains for children and a significant boost to our education system as a whole. Investing in early education will also build a stronger, well-educated workforce in the years to come.
Sadly, this will not become a reality this year because Republicans in the NH House rejected the idea.
In a completely partisan vote, the NH House rejected HB 1563, 205 to 152. Everyone who voted against expanding full day kindergarten was a Republican.
Republicans should stop their whining about the failures of our education system and start looking in the mirror. They are the ones who are failing to invest in a proven, successful program that will create lasting effects on a child’s ability to learn and grow.
We need to elect legislators who are willing to do what is needed to improve our education system, not just what is best for their political careers.
UPDATED to correct an error. Not all the Republicans in the House voted against expanding full day kindergarten as previously reported. Eight Republicans voted for the bill, however all of the votes against the bill were Republicans.