"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Monday, May 25, 2009

Early Entrance to Kindergarten - Update

On March 20 I published a blog entry titled Early Entrance to Kindergarten. In it I explained how our central administration had gone from denying that we let students into kindergarten whose birthdays are after the state cutoff date, to saying that it is a unique situation and it doesn't happen very often.

I proved that we do, indeed let students into kindergarten early, and that it is not a unique situation (18 for the current year).

I've been after the administration to take the lead in finding a method of screening children whose parents request early entrance to make sure they're ready for the academic focus of our kindergartens.

Last week I asked for an answer.

Me: I'd like a response.

Deputy Superintendent (DS): I thought we had answered this.

Me: Are we going to continue to allow children who are younger than the state's minimum to enter kindergarten without screening them?

DS: The state says that we are to let everyone into kindergarten.

Me: No, that's not correct. The state says that we may enroll students whose birthdays are after the cutoff date. It would be different if we had developmental kindergartens, but ours are academic and we need to make sure that the students are ready.

DS: There are 6 year olds who enter kindergarten who are not ready.

Me: That's not the point. We're letting children into academic kindergartens who are not ready. That ends up hurting children and costing the district money in extra supports, special services and retentions.

DS: Our kindergartens have developmental standards.

Me: I'm not saying that there are not children who might benefit from early entrance, but not all of them do. We need to screen them to make sure that the students who are allowed to enter early are ready. I'd like a yes or no answer - are we going to continue to allow children into kindergarten on early entrance waivers?

DS: Our district policy is to allow them in.

That was the end of the discussion. Time to get the kindergarten teachers involved. I'm not going to fight this battle alone. I've made the noise, done the research and argued the position...alone.

If that doesn't work, maybe the school board will help.

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