At my daughter's dance lesson tonight, I was talking to a father who happens to be a teacher in our school district. He informed me and the other mom there that the state of Ohio is shifting to mandatory full-day kindergarten AND mandatory *preschool.* I'm angry and appalled! Yes, I sent my daughters to preschool, and they enjoyed it, but it was only mornings, not every school day, and I certainly wouldn't want it to be forced on every child. I also don't see five-year-olds as necessarily being ready for all-day school, either. They're still so young! Of course, too many children that age are in all-day daycare anyway, and I have to wonder if parents who do have children in daycare were a driving force behind this. It also makes me mad that I am subsidizing their daycare, basically. They are probably using some sort of excuse about helping the children academically, but seriously. When my daughters were kindergarten age, they were still solidifying letters and numbers. I don't see going to a whole day making a difference in that. Not to mention that there is evidence that even Head Start ends up not giving kids an advantage in the long run. Where is the evidence that all-day preschool will work?
Another issue is the cost. Our school district is blessed to be in a financially good place at the moment, but adding all those extra kids, and the extra hours, will put a strain on the district's budget. How will districts that already struggle financially deal with it? Especially in this economy? It will mean more levies, and of course the schools know how to manipulate parents, by cutting "non-essential" classes like art, extracurricular activities and busing. Of course, so many parents work today that they are apparently happy to pay the extra taxes to ease the burden of having to drive them to school, and pick them up right after school.
I'm so disappointed in Ohio. I'm definitely contacting my legislators, although it's a bit late at this point. I wish I had a place to get good Ohio news besides the local rag. Homeschooling did not work out in the long run for us, but I think I would probably homeschool during the preschool and kindergarten years if I had children of that age. It's a sad development.