June 19, 2013

Letters to the editor: City should treasure Congress Square

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Union Station is razed in 1961. A reader says the city should keep the railroad station’s fate in mind during the decision about Congress Square Plaza.

1961 Gannett Publishing File Photo/Donald Johnson

Let's face it, some schools are better than other schools: better management, better student discipline, better graduation rates, better after-school programs, better electives.

The legislators have heard the many and various reasons why a student chooses to matriculate at another school: why it is a good thing, from students and parents, and, from educators, why it is detrimental.

The heart of the debate, which was missing from this article, is the question of who is responsible for the $9,000-plus-per-student cost of choice education.

One thing is for sure. The burden should not fall on the receiving school or some other entity, which is presently the case.

David Kolodin
Pemaquid Harbor

All-day kindergarten gives kids equal opportunities

 

I encourage readers to support the Appropriations Committee in funding L.D. 1143, "An Act to Provide Full Day Kindergarten Programs," to mandate full-day kindergarten in all districts in Maine.

Early childhood is a formative time for children, academically, socially and emotionally, and school systems need to take advantage of this time.

It has been empirically proven multiple times that students who attend full-day kindergarten learn more and are better prepared for school than students who attend half-day kindergarten. Many countries that academically outperform the United States have full-day kindergarten programs.

Children who attend full-day kindergarten are also less likely to be held back in later grades. Further, studies show that full-day kindergarten programs are especially beneficial for traditionally disadvantaged students because they are able to spend more time engaged in learning.

The beauty of public schooling is that it attempts to give every child the same opportunities regardless of their socioeconomic status. Full-day kindergarten would help mitigate the opportunity gap. It would give all kindergarten students access to a full-day academic program, which is needed for educational readiness and is the basis of school success.

This bill would not require that all children attend full-day kindergarten, just that each district must offer it. Currently in Maine, students do not have to start school until the age of 7, and kindergarten attendance is not mandatory.

With the implementation of the Common Core State Standards soon approaching, the stakes are even higher. Maine needs full-day kindergarten programs in order to give students the foundation they need to be successful in school and meet kindergarten standards. Without providing districts funding and support for implementation, however, a simple mandate will not be effective.

Andrea Levinsky
Portland

 

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