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Loss of Kindergarten Program Angers Educators and Parents

01.13.2012 | KTXL | Lonnie Wong

SACRAMENTO—A program designed to help kids transition into the classroom is in danger of being scrapped.

Governor
Jerry Brown’s budget proposal is not funding the “Transitional
Kindergarten” program.  The program was approved in the Schwarzenegger
administration to help deal with kids who are being held out of school
longer because the kindergarten age limit is being gradually raised.

“I think it’s about the
dumbest thing I have heard,” said Sacramento City Unified School
District Superintendent Jonathan Raymond.

Kids too old for preschool but not mature enough for kindergarten
would attend the classes. The Sacramento City School District has
embraced the concept and already has five classes at various schools.

“It’s
the most innovative thing that’s happened in public education in
decades in California and now just a little over a year later to sweep
it away, it makes absolutely no sense,” said Raymond.

Anna Ramahi
has a 5-year-old that attends the pre-kindergarten class at the
district’s Harkness Elementary School.  She’s disappointed at the
Governor’s budget decision to eliminate $224 million in funding for the
program.

“They haven’t mastered skills they need to get into
kindergarten, and we just really need a program like this that can help
children like that,” said Ramahi.

Harkness Elementary principal
Eric Chapman says many inner city schools have students that come to
kindergarten without spending a day at preschool.  He says they haven’t
been exposed to structured classroom learning that can help young kids
succeed through high school. Many are from poor families or families who
speak English as a second language.

“Confidence for kids is everything, and with confidence they can grow academically and grow socially,” said Chapman.

Raymond says Brown’s budget has not yet been approved and there is a growing campaign to restore the funds.

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