Why wealthy Loudoun County does not have universal full-day kindergarten. The Washington Post reports, “Fewer than a third of the school system’s nearly 4,900 kindergartners attend full-day classes, qualifying for the longer classes because they come from low-income households, are English-language learners or are special-education students.
At a School Board work session last week, Mike Martin, the director of elementary education in the county, put the cost of adding teachers and aides at schools where there is existing space at $1.4 million. And constructing 12 additional classrooms over four years could cost up to $36 million. Those estimates do not take into account what it would cost to hire teachers for those new classrooms. The county estimates it would be able to provide full-day kindergarten to about half of all 5-year-olds, starting in four years.
The Post also reports that some school board members argue that the benefit of full-day kindergarten classes has not been proved for most students. “Research has shown that full-day kindergarten has clear advantages for low-income students, English language learners and special education students. But the research is less clear for students who do not fall into those categories.”