Thursday, February 9, 2012
I wanted to respond to the article in the Steamboat Today regarding the full-day kindergarten program that Superintendent Brad Meeks is recommending be paid for by the Fund Board and available to all kids no matter what their socioeconomic status. I applaud him for this because I think the current policy is complete discrimination toward students whose families don’t have the funds to pay private tuition costs to be enrolled for a full day.
I understand that in the past, lower-income families at least could apply for a scholarship (which apparently has been discontinued), further adding to the problem — especially considering that the district has access to a very good grant writer who could seek funding if it were considered a higher priority.
This year, the half-day kindergarten students have to attend Strawberry Park Elementary School, and if zoned to attend Soda Creek Elementary School, they will have to change schools for first grade. That’s something that is not easy for many children.
Furthermore, in this day and age of strong expectations for education placed on students by state assessments, children of families with lower incomes will not have the same advantages as those whose families can afford to pay for full-day kindergarten and the resulting start to their education at a very important developmental stage. Every other outlying school in this region manages to keep full-day kindergarten a priority for all kids. I hope Steamboat can work toward the same goal.