Several lawmakers are hoping to convince Gov. Chris Christie to reconsider previously vetoed legislation that would have created a task force to explore the pros and cons of all-day kindergarten.
In January of 2014, Christie vetoed the bill that would have created the task force. In his veto message Christie explained that almost three-quarters of New Jersey’s school districts already offered all-day kindergarten. He also said it should be a local choice, not a state mandate. Several Assembly members want to pass the legislation again in hopes that the governor would reconsider.
“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,” said bill co-sponsor, Assemblywoman Betty Lou DeCroce (R-Parsippany) in a press release.
The full Assembly approved a new bill (A-447) last Thursday. The measure would establish a 21-member task force to study and evaluate issues regarding the establishment and implementation of full-day kindergarten. The NJ education commissioner would be a member. Others would be appointed by the governor and legislative leaders in both houses.
The panel would be charged with studying issue which include:
- Staffing needs, facility space, and class size;
- The long-term academic, social and emotional impact of full-day kindergarten;
- Funding needs and sources of funding;
- Recommendations and opinions of parents and elementary school teachers; and
- The feasibility of offering full-day kindergarten in school districts statewide.