Full Day Kindergarten Mandate Again Fails

Another bid to force Loudoun County public school administrators, and those in other localities, to create a plan to provide universal full-day kindergarten was killed in the General Assembly this week.

Del. John J. Bell (D–87) introduced the bill, which he said would have helped give access to full day kindergarten for more Virginia students. Loudoun County is one of only three school districts in Virginia that does not provide a full day of instruction to every kindergartener.

The Appropriations subcommittee on House Elementary and Secondary Education tabled the bill on a 4-2 vote Tuesday.

Similar bills filed in previous assembly sessions met similar fates. Loudoun school leaders have opposed the unfunded mandate but have made progress on expanding full-day kindergarten. By this fall, Superintendent Eric Williams plans to provide the service to 82 percent of all kindergarteners.

“Investing early in our students saves us money down the road. I’d rather spend money helping children to succeed, instead of helping them catch up later down the road,” Bell stated. “Making sure every child in Virginia has the opportunity to achieve should be a priority in Virginia; I’m disappointed that the subcommittee don’t think our five-year-olds are a priority.”

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