Is Full-Day Kindergarten All Supporters Claim it to Be?

Early education Gov. Corbett’s proposed budget includes cutting Pennsylvania’s Accountability Block Grant (ABG). Among the areas Accountability Block Grants can be use for is full-day Kindergarten programs at school districts.

While many advocates of full-day kindergarten spending claim it would improve student learning, the Allegheny Institute notes the lack of evidence of long-term gains from the growth in full-day Kindergarten.

To say there is an emphasis on early childhood education (the percentage of kindergarten pupils in a full-day program rose from 25.1% in 1979 to 63% by 2000, according to the Education Commission of the States) and all the good it can do and all the harm that can come from its absence is an understatement if there ever was one. But the proof of the wisdom or irrelevance of this emphasis is found in the impact it has had. For example, have SAT scores improved during the period? In a word, no. Have graduation rates improved? Are incarceration levels lower? So what is the educrats response to the absence of evidence that all this effort has made much difference? That’s easily predicted. We need even more resources. Or, the situation would be much worse if not for the increased spending-a hypothetical assertion that cannot be proved. In this case, not only has there been no positive causal relationship, there is not even a correlation. But advocates will not be deterred.