The state of Kansas has an interesting take on math.

The state of Kansas has an interesting take on math.
Children who attend kindergarten full time are only counted as half students when it comes to enrollment.
This means the state only funds half of kindergartners’ educations.
Governor Sam Brownback has proposed phasing in all-day kindergarten during the next five years. This means districts that currently have all-day kindergarten would receive funds to cover the cost of the programs they already have in place.
In many districts in the state, including Lindsborg, parents who send their children to all-day kindergarten make up the difference between what the state pays and the actual cost of the extended school day for their children. The governor’s plan would mean reduced costs for parents in these districts.
In yet other districts, all-day kindergarten would become available for the first time.
The National Education Association is fully behind the expansion of all-day kindergarten not only in Kansas but across the nation.
Long-term studies have determined children in all-day kindergarten show greater achievement in reading and math than those students in half-day classes.
Full-day kindergarten serves as bridge between prekindergarten programs and first grade, according to the Education Commission of the States.
All-day kindergarten is especially helpful for low-income and minority students who may have not had access to prior early childhood education, the commission said.
Research also has indicated investment in early childhood education generates a 3-1 or higher return on investment.
Students are less likely to have lower grade retention and drop out later in life, according to the Economic Policy Institute and Committee for Economic Development.
The overwhelming evidence that all-day kindergarten benefits students is why many districts are offering the extended day for students even though it is a money-losing proposition on their parts. Kids come first.
However, in the capitol money comes first, and that is where lawmakers have hit a snag.
Brownback’s proposal will cost an estimated $80 million. Legislators are reluctant to foot that bill with a school funding decision from the Supreme Court looming.
The all-day kindergarten proposal is laudable, but it should not be an attempt by the governor to make a concession on education in an election year.
The state has consistently cut per pupil funding during recent years, and that needs to be addressed first and foremost.
Conservative lawmakers continually have echoed the mantra schools need to do more with less. However, they fail to take the responsibility for what those cuts reap.
Case in point is the closure of an elementary school in nearby Marquette due in part to cuts in state funding.
The state needs to get its math straight and count full-time students as full-time students. However, it can’t continue to ignore the need to fully fund all school needs through adequate base state aid.