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Parents Petitioning Guv For Mandatory Full-Day Kindergarten

Many East Meadow residents have signed a petition urging Governor Andrew Cuomo to make full-day kindergarten mandatory in New York State.

Stacy VanWagenen, who urged her neighbors to sign the petition on the East Meadow Patch Speak Out Board, is concerned her daughter will "be behind compared to other children in the surrounding areas that have full time pre-K and kindergarten programs."

Fellow residents Amy Cruse added, "With the new common core curriculum, my daughter needs full day kindergarten or she will be lost!!"

The East Meadow School District currently runs a half-day program.

The petition was started by Stephanie Cocchi, a Ronkonkoma Mom who believes a full-day program would "provide the foundation for children to succeed in school" in light of the new Common Core curriculum and the resulting changes in standardized testing.

"People complain that the United States is not competitive enough, yet school districts are allowed to cut kindergarten at their discretion," Cocchi said. "Help us stop this, tell Governor Cuomo our kids should be guaranteed full-day Kindergarten, for their futures and ours."

More than 730 people have signed the petition.

According to the NYS Education Department, state funding is available for eligible public school districts that plan to convert from a half-day to a full-day program; districts are eligible to apply for this funding on a one-time-only basis. The Wantagh School District received $554,580 in conversion aid from the state for the first year of its program, which began in September.

A bill currently pending in the New York State Assembly seeks to amend education law to require all school districts offer a full-day program. The legislation needs approval of the Assembly Education Committee before it can go to the floor for a vote.

"It is a one-house bill, it has no companion bill in the Senate," according to a spokesman from Assemblyman Tom McKevitt's office. "So assuming it did get out of the Assembly Education Committee and voted through the full Assembly, it would still not take any effect unless a Senate companion bill is written and goes through the same approval process in the Senate."
Jon L. December 29, 2013 at 11:23 PM
Never going to happen. For the short time it was mandatory (before the financial crisis) the District was going to pay the penalty (in the form of reduced foundation aid) and leave the start up money on the table. Real geniuses running things back then, now their hand picked successor is running the show. The irony of it all is that we have educational leadership in this district without anyone holding a Doctorate or other capstone degree in education.
Don Schampier December 30, 2013 at 10:47 AM
Why cant parents take responsibility for teaching their own children kindergarten lessons. Focused one on one time will provide far greater results for a child in the long run. Either parents take responsibility for their children or the abdicate that to the state. Just remember that once you give up that right for one aspect of a childs upbringing it becomes a slippery slope for the state to take control and make other decisions for child without parent approval or knowledge
bellmoreumc December 30, 2013 at 10:54 AM
I don't know whether it will happen, but I agree that it should. Take a look at the Pre-K Foundation For the Common Core, the attempt to align pre-K standards with the CCLS K-12 system. Pre-K programs must adopt more of an academic-oriented environment, in order to equip the children in their care for kindergarten. This now includes technology and additional areas of arts education. Hopefully, the critical social and emotional preparation will not be lost in the attempts. If the child is not properly equipped, s/he attends 1/2 day kindergarten, where the teacher works to cram all pre-1st grades standards into the brief classroom time. Children who begin behind, stay behind.
J December 30, 2013 at 11:35 AM
So Don, do you want my wife, or myself to quit our job so we can teach kindergarten to our child. I'll be expecting you to give us the $2500 a month needed to pay our mortgage and real estate taxes. If EM school district doesn't have full time kindergarten by the time my child reaches that age, we will have to pay to send him to a private kindergarten. That is cheaper than one of us quitting our jobs and trying to support the household on one income. Oh by the way, with this focused one one one training, when does the kid learn to socialize and play with other kids, and learn a routine and proper behaviors in group. This is arguably just as important as the education lessons learned at that age.
Joseph Laviano December 30, 2013 at 12:07 PM
How do I petition? The surrounding towns all have it, why shouldn't we? God knows we pay enough taxes..
J December 30, 2013 at 12:18 PM
in the first sentence of this article, click the word PETITION, it will take you to the proper website.
Rhonda Levy December 30, 2013 at 07:03 PM
for east meadow people this is nothing new we have been fighting this for over 12 years. I had to send my son to a school and k part time we had no choice since then and the same for my daughter to who is in 9th. good luck
SVanWagenen December 30, 2013 at 08:05 PM
Rhonda, thank you for your warm wishes! Although you had done a terrific job in the past 12 years fighting for this, it is even more important now since our children in this community are now dealing with new common core standards. I do understand all of the parents who have been there but we are still asking for support because the end result will be that new families will not be interested in moving into our district and we will all still be paying the high school taxes as the surrounding towns that have it. Please don't let the school board district win this!
Mentsh December 30, 2013 at 09:33 PM
Just because a school district has full-day kindergarten does not mean that the children are learning twice as much. Call it what you want but most of the day is still organized playtime (certainly beneficial for kids, but not necessarily directly related to Common Core standards). Most parents want full-day kindergarten in lieu of paid child care, and most parents who will sign this petition think of that first, way before curricular goals. In 1990, a scholarly study suggested that a key indicator of high school success is "hours read to" at home as a small child (middle class=1,000 hours average before first grade; impoverished=25 hours average before first grade). A 2010 study strongly linked middle school and high school success with reading success by third grade. Parents can help foster education by living in a literate household. Back to East Meadow... It is true that we live in a two-worker society. Our district is still living in a bygone era when one parent stayed home with the kids; call me sentimental but it's kind of nice. For the record, I'm not against full-day kindergarten... just playing Devil's Advocate here. Those who argue for full-day K should use the third-grade argument (a commonly known statistic) because the kids will have more time in class before third grade... and those arguing for greater home instruction should argue for the 1,000 hour average... because responsible parents in mid-SES districts like East Meadow have the means to educate their own children. Again, just throwing some suggestions out there. I'll remain officially neutral on this one.
robert December 31, 2013 at 12:48 AM
Most of the parents who want full time kindergarten are only interested in full time day care...Period!
EM Resident December 31, 2013 at 07:27 AM
Full day kindergarten is the standard everywhere. Why should East Meadow be the exception? Is there any VALUE to it?? No! A bill was passed at the taxpayer's expense over 10 years ago to collect the $ to expand the schools so that full day kindgerarten could take place. They took the $ but did not implement what they had promised. I would love a refund of that $!!They actually pretended that they would implement it and they did not. Does anyone else remember this?
SVanWagenen December 31, 2013 at 08:51 AM
Hi Robert, I really wish that your statement was true! I'm not sure if you have taken the time to educate yourself on what is now happening in our Kindergartens, but I have provided you with 2 links. Read them or not its up to you. I know it would take time from your constant bashing of every article on the East Meadow Patch. FYI, Full time Kindergarten is not exactly full time. Most parents leave their houses by 7 and don't return home until 5 or 6 pm. Kindergarten is on 5 hours...so we will all still be paying for some sort of daycare. There are real reasons why parents are upset over the part time kindergarten situations. There are thousands of links I could send you if you need more information! Happy New Year to everyone on the Patch! http://nypost.com/2013/01/27/playtimes-over-kindergartners/ http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/12/05/13bornfreund.h32.html
Jenn December 31, 2013 at 09:39 AM
Last year my daughter was in half-day EM kindergarten. I supplemented her half day with partial, daily home school as soon as I picked her up. Let's face it - most people are not able to do that because they work....BUT this should make it clear that we need full day kindergarten: EM has a program called "intervention" in where they take the kids who need extra help to be able to be at a level needed to enter the first grade and they keep them the entire school day. More than half of the entire kindergarten class (at least in our school) needed intervention for part, or all of the year. So the fact is, more than half of kindergarteners (in our school) last year had to be kept in school all day, based on teacher testing and observation of children not quite being on target. Doesn't this indicate a need for whole day class?
Don Schampier December 31, 2013 at 10:14 AM
Having children in full day kindrgarten so they can keep pace with common core standards that are being rushed in schools, are unproven and will cost this district a fortune will be more harmful than helpful. It is the goal of john king to provide much more than schooling for children and begin educating them at an earlier age. Your rights and ability to raise your own children will be significantly reduced. Arne duncan has talked about school being 6 days a week and year round. If parents dont start to become more educated and question what is happening they will soon find the state caring for their children in more ways than most would think appropriate. There is a huge movement on LI, in ny and across tge nation questioning the nationalizationof the public school system. There are very valid concerns expressed about common core that have not been addressed. One aspect that even the superintendent acknowledged was the shating of childrens data with private companies yet there wasno indication the data would not be shared. Back to full day kindergarten, if you are concerned about school taxes and think adding full day kindergarten won't incease taxes you would be mistaken. School taxes are going up and will cause more financial challenges. The more costly it gets the more everyone asks for "free" stuff, yet nothing is free that the school district or govt provide.
robert December 31, 2013 at 08:33 PM
SVanWagenen....Read Don Schampier's post...Well written and to the point.
SVanWagenen December 31, 2013 at 10:50 PM
Robert, I did read it. It is well written and I respect his option. I appreciate the facts he put in as well as admitting to common core issues needing to be addressed. Not everyone can agree on every issue but your comment was insulting. My daughter does not go to daycare, I am family members available to me how take care of her while I am at work. I am not interested in kindergarten being her full time daycare, and I only want her the best for her. Hope everyone on the Patch has a wonderful New Year!
J January 01, 2014 at 09:27 AM
EMResident stated above, and i really don't know if it is true or not since i didn't live here then, but that we have been paying an extra cost in our taxes for kindergarten but not getting the kindergarten. If this is true, then we shouldn't have to worry about increased taxes.
EM Resident January 01, 2014 at 12:43 PM
The cost was to build extensions on the schools to house the extra classrooms needed -it was a bill or bond or some such thing -not necessarily still in the taxes. I am not sure how it works. But it passed and the rooms were built-I wonder what is in the wing bc it sure isn't all day kindergarten! So maddening!
Tina Bingel January 27, 2014 at 09:13 AM
Wow - I cross my fingers and toes it does not happen. I was saddened our district has kindergarten full day. It is too much too soon. Instead of adovating for full day kindergarten, we should all be banding together to Stop Common Core. Have you studied Common Core? Have you seen what they ask PreK and Kindergarten students to do? It is tasks they are developmentally unable to do. It is setting our children up for failure at a young age. PreK and Kindergarten students are coming home utterly exhausted and crying. Begging for BOOKS!! Books, fiction, fun books are being completely done away with. Teachers are having to sneak in a book here and there. Not to mention the standards are developmentally inappropriate and out of sequence. Be careful what you ask for: once you have the state mandating something there is nothing stopping them from doing more. Let children be CHILDREN. Why is everyone in such a race to keep up? I have a kindergartner. I had to opt her out of so much unnecessary testing - over 20 in kindergarten. Absolutely crazy.
SVanWagenen January 27, 2014 at 09:44 AM
Hi Tina, Thanks for your input on this matter. I have studies the information on the common core and I am in fact fighting to stop it. You don't have all the information on our school district. We are the only one in Nassau county who does not have full time and as per our school districts answer to this, is that we shouldn't worry and that our children will be caught up to the other kids by the 3rd grade! Is it appropriate for your children? We are aware of what's happening to our children in kindergarten but our kids barely have any play time or sometimes not even a snack due to them only being there for a little over 2 hours. Our kids 4 year programs is longer than that. Our children are being overwhelmed due to not being there for a full day. Just curious....Have you been to a school board meeting, been outside at a protest for common core? If you are interested in doing something good to help this matter than I could sent you some information on how to get involved!

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