The NH House Education Committee by 15 to 4 vote, supported funding full-day kindergarten in New Hampshire.
Currently under the state education funding system, kindergartners are counted at half the rate as other grades, school districts get one half of the state adequacy funding for kindergartners as they do for students in other grades. This vote is recommending offering full-day kindergarten at the full rate of state funding. The plan is estimated to cost about $14 million and would not require districts to offer full-day kindergarten. About 60% of NH school districts currently offer full day kindergarten and for good reason. According to the Children's Defense Fund: "Full-day kindergarten boosts children’s cognitive learning, creative problem-solving and social
competence. Yet for many young children full-day kindergarten is a missing half step in the early learning
continuum. Unequal access to publicly funded full-day and full-week high quality kindergarten means too
many young children lose a critical opportunity to develop and strengthen foundational skills necessary
for success in school and lifelong learning."
There were four Republicans on the education committee who voted against the bill – Victoria Sullivan, Josh Moore, Carolyn Halstead and our own Glen Cordelli.
The legislators that voted against this bill complain that our current public education system is failing our children, yet when they are presented with a reasonable and very cost effective solution to boost early education, they adamantly reject it.
In response to the vote by the committee, a far right website here in the Lakes region had this to say about why this bill is a bad idea: "it’s a boost to union membership (teachers are forced to pay in the forced union state of New Hampshire); it gets kids indoctrinated early in the failed public education system run by the government." A sad commentary on the ever increasing political divide.
The bill now heads to the House Finance Committee where hopefully, moderates will continue to support this important legislation.