For some New Jersey parents, this week marks the first time their children will be going to school for the entire day. While 68,244 children marched off to publicly financed full-day kindergarten last year at this time, 26,672 students were still enrolled in public half-day programs for the 2009/2010 school year. Last year, 452 districts provided a full day of schooling for kindergarteners while 143 districts offered only a partial school day. New Jersey has no statewide requirement for districts to offer kindergarten at all, but Abbott districts -- those 31 deemed in need of additional state funding -- are required to offer students a full day of kindergarten.
There are many benefits to full-day kindergarten. I've worked long enough in primary education to tell you that 3 hours a day just isn't enough for that age.
But that aside: if full-day K good enough for the Abbotts, why isn't it good enough for everyone else? Don't try to convince me that the home life of kids in "wealthier" communities is so full of enrichment as to be preferable to those extra hours in school - I'm not buying it.