Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

The proportion of public school kindergartners in Massachusetts who attend full-day programs continues to grow. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) reports that 80% attend full-day (FDK) programs, up from 38% in 2000. Despite the increased access, 80 districts charge tuition for their full-day programs.  Statewide, 11.7% of students pay tuition for full-day kindergarten, up from 9.4% the previous year.

Research shows that children in FDK make more progress in early literacy, math and other skills than children in half-day programs. (Look at a map showing the communities in Massachusetts that offer full-day kindergarten.)

Meanwhile, as noted in a posting last week, funding for full-day kindergarten grants is on the agenda of the conference committee working to reconcile differences in the fiscal year 2012 budgets approved by the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate. The House budget maintains funding at $22,948,947, the same as FY11. The Senate budget includes $20,948,947 for the grants, a cut of $2 million.  Please join us for a conference call at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 7, to review the Senate budget and discuss next steps for advocacy about full-day kindergarten and other line items related to early education and care.  Click here to RSVP and receive instructions for the 1:30 p.m. call. Click here for more information about the state budget process.

Here are some highlights from ESE’s analysis of kindergarten data: