The Idaho Legislature is currently considering proposals which would help provide full-day kindergarten options for local communities across the state. United Way has helped support full day early learning programs in many communities in Idaho and the results are win-win-win.
Idaho’s children win by having access to high quality learning designed specifically to give them the skills and tools to read, work with numbers and interact with others. All things every child needs to go on to their most successful self in life and career.
Idaho’s working parents in large and small communities win by having additional options for young children during the day that matches schedules of older children in the household.
Idaho’s communities win when our children have a strong, rich start in life which sets them up to be capable employees, homeowners and community leaders when they grow up.
United Way’s ALICE data (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed www.unitedforalice.org) tells us that 40% of Idahoans are struggling to make ends meet each month. The numbers in some Idaho Counties are even higher. Our neighbors are working hard, but the cost of housing, food, health services, transportation is rising faster than their income. When households struggle, the young people in those households also struggle. Expanding learning opportunities through the expansion to full day kindergarten will provide direct and immediate benefit to many, many Idaho families.
We can improve the educational landscape in Idaho for our young learners. Making full-day kindergarten accessible to all Idaho children, no matter where they live or their parents ability to pay is win-win-win.
Raise your hand and share your voice. Let your local Legislator know you support full day kindergarten.
Full-Day Kindergarten Talking Points
- All Idaho parents should have the option to enter their children into quality, full-day kindergarten programs if they choose, but for some of Idaho’s communities, parents must pay out-of-pocket for their children to get the same education as their peers in other school districts.
- Children who attend full-day kindergarten show significantly stronger academic gains over the course of the kindergarten year than their counterparts in half-day programs.
- Currently, Idaho only provides state funding for half-day kindergarten. Local school districts that offer full-day kindergarten do so through federal programs or grants, local levies, or by charging parents.
- Many parents who would like their children to attend full-day kindergarten are unable to because of the extra cost, putting their children at a disadvantage with their peers.
- The benefits to children that full-day kindergarten provides should not be determined by zip code.
- Making quality full-day kindergarten accessible to all Idaho children, no matter where they live, will mean more opportunities for them to succeed.
- Universal full-day kindergarten would be optional for parents just as kindergarten has always been in Idaho.
- Research shows that kids who attend full-day kindergarten have better academic outcomes in first grade.
- For students with disabilities, those who are English language learners or are economically disadvantaged, full-day kindergarten or extended-day programs result in increased performance in literacy and numeracy, according to state kindergarten assessments.
- Whether the funding for full-day kindergarten comes by increasing the literacy funding for schools or more traditional funding mechanisms, there would be significant benefit to all communities. Regardless of which route our lawmakers take, what is important is that all Idaho children have the benefit of being able to participate in a full-day kindergarten.