Friday, December 20, 2013

DeCroce Full-Day Kindergarten Bill Wins Assembly Approval

A bill creating a task force to study the feasibility of full-day kindergarten programs throughout the state, was approved by the General Assemly at the State House in Trenton Thursday.
The bill, sponsored by District 26 Asw. BettyLou DeCroce, now moves to Gov. Chris Christie for his signature.
“Effective early childhood education can provide a rock-solid foundation for later academic and career success,” said DeCroce, a Republican who represents parts of Essex, Morris and Passaic counties. “Efficient and productive full-day kindergarten programs can be critical in launching our students to higher achievement, making them competitive with high-performing students from
around the world and making New Jersey more competitive in the global marketplace.”
The bill, A-3972, establishes a 21-member task force to study and evaluate issues related to implementing full-time kindergarten in the Garden State. The lawmaker said the task force will review existing research; implementation issues, including staffing needs and facility space availability; funding concerns; and curriculum comparisons between full- and half-day programs.
“A five-year-old in a dynamic all-day session benefits from social interaction and skill-building, but the most important dividends are educational,” said DeCroce. “It is a springboard to sufficient learning. A longer school day and a more ambitious curriculum can enable kindergartners with exposure to core verbal and reading principals, and develop a solid foundation in mathematics.”
The bill was approved by the General Assembly last June, but was amended and advanced from the Senate in November. The amended version that won passage Thursday boosts the panel’s size to 21 members, including one member appointed by the Assembly’s minority leader, one appointed by the Senate’s minority leader and a third member appointed by Gov. Christie upon the recommendation of the Garden State Coalition of Schools.

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