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Lawmakers Push for Kindergarten Program Changes

6:36 PM, Sep 26, 2013   |    comments
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Buffalo, NY -- Recent statistics show as many as four in ten kindergarten and first grade students miss about a month of school.

 The issue of absenteeism has grabbed the attention of state lawmakers -- who are looking to make changes to the current kindergarten policy.

 In kindergarten kids learn letters and numbers and should be able to read at some level at the end of the program. It's been found absenteeism create issues with building reading skills.

 "Some parents treat kindergarten as if the kids feeling good that day or if I need a babysitter, they'll send you to kindergarten. We got to change that view of kindergarten. One way we can do that is by making it mandatory," Assemblyman Sean Ryan said.

 Assemblyman Sean Ryan is pushing to make kindergarten mandatory, looking into how to do this statewide --or just in certain school districts.

Currently in Buffalo and in most cities throughout New York State Kindergarten is optional.

 Buffalo School Board President Barbara Nevergold supports mandating kindergarten stating

..  "I believe that mandatory kindergarten will encourage those parents who do not consider this phase of their children's education as important as later grades to take attendance requirements more seriously".

 This isn't the only change to the program being discussed. At the next session, state lawmakers will discuss a bill that involves eliminating half day kindergarten.

 "I think there would be a number of benefits that would come out as a result of that," Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak said.

 Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak is sponsoring the proposal explaining that parents currently have the option of enrolling their child in the full day or half day program.

 "Being there and going on a daily basis -- hopefully what this is going to go is have a positive effect in future years on the students in terms of learning responsibility and creating an environment where the kids want to go to class," Gabryszak said.

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