More Reading and Writing and Arithmetic possible for Missouri's children
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More Reading and Writing and Arithmetic possible for Missouri's children

Date: December 17, 2008
By: Rebecca Layne
State Capitol Bureau

Intro: Missouri kids would have to start school sooner under a measure proposed for the upcoming session of the state's legislature. Rebecca Layne has more from Jefferson City. RunTime:2:03
OutCue: SOC

The measure has been proposed by Springfield Representative Sara Lampe.

The Democrat's proposal would lower the compulsory age to attend school from seven to six. Lampe's bill would also require all public schools to have full-day kindergarten programs.

 

Actuality:  LAMPE4.WAV
Run Time: 00:18
Description: We know that money put in the area of pre-school education makes a huge difference in terms of graduation rate. It lowers drop-out rates. It lowers prison and incarceration rates. All of that is affected by having high quality pre-school experiences.


Lampe says resistance could come from private schools that could lose money to public schools and from schools that object to the cost of full-day kindergarten programs.

Actuality:  LAMPE3.WAV
Run Time: 00:18
Description: It will force some school districts, quite frankly, to add full day kindergartens where they haven't in the past. And that likely is an increased expense. My guess is that's not going to be real popular, especially when we know we're cutting back most departments in the state of Missouri right now. But at some point we have to start the conversation that pre-schoolers are important.
 
But Lampe's proposal might not be as dramatic as it sounds.

Deputy Commissioner for Missouri's Education Department Bert Schulte says kids typically begin school at age five or six.

The bill's age change, he says, would put in to law what is already in practice across Missouri.  

But Schulte also says that a full-day kindergarten requirement could affect some districts.

Actuality:  SCHULTE.WAV
Run Time: 00:29
Description: The requirement of having full-day kindergarten in every school district beginning of next school year could have some impact on, I think there are about 14 school districts in the state that do not currently have a full-day kindergarten program, many of those 14 would have students that attend on a half-day basis. And the implications of space and staffing and so forth, it may be a bit ambitious to expect all those districts to accommodate full-day kindergarten in that short time frame.

 

How Lampe's bill will fare is unknown, but mandating changes for school districts usually faces resistance in tough budget times.

Reporting from Jefferson City, I'm Rebecca Layne ... KSMU.