94% of parents opt for full day kindergarten

This is somewhat old news, but given BloggingBelmont’s long running coverage of the push by parents in town for a  Full Day Kinergarten program, I thought it was worth calling readers’ attention to a little noticed factoid from a recent BCH article “Six hour day for 6 year olds.” Full day kindergarten is a runaway success in Belmont. I forgive you if you came away with a different impress. After all, you had to read down to the fourth paragraph to learn this:

“Enrollment is up compared to last year, and 94 percent of the kindergarteners are enrolled full-time, according to Interim Superintendent Dr. Patricia Aubin.”

Let’s pause a moment  94 percent of kids are enrolled in the (optional) FDK program!

What’s all the stranger is that you could come away with a totally different impression from the BCH’s below the fold take on the program. First of all there’s the headline – which suggests some kind of draconian program to chain six year olds to their desks.

Then there’s the lead that suggested the program was kicking off “despite concerned parents and budget woes.” Two things: if we’re talking about 94% enrollment in an entirely OPTIONAL full day program, who are all these concerned parents?? And, on the “budget woes,” it’s important to remember that this is a fee-supported full day kindergarten program that was implemented in a way that was cost neutral to the school system.

We here in the U.S. put a lot of emphasis on the power of markets and freedom of choice as good barometers of what works and what doesn’t. By both measures, we’d have to conclude that Full Day Kindergarten is enthusiastically supported and welcomed by Belmont families, who opted in to the program for their children, then reached into their pocketbook to pay for it.

Let’s keep that in mind next time we hear from the rumored “silent majority” of parents out there who we were told were opposed to FDK, thought it was too much for little Tommy or Sally (a discredited notion that the BCH headline reprises). Like so many things: FDK is something working families in Belmont were ready for – no…desperate for, and something Belmont kids will benefit from tremendously.

And its not the only thing. If we’re going to improve the town, we’ve got to point out the problems that are staring us in the face and, of course, take note of and appreciate our successes. FDK is one of those and kudos go to outgoing Superintendent Peter Holland and the Belmont School Committee for sticking to their guns in the face of stiff opposition and making it happen!