Two Greene County school boards recently voted down full-day kindergarten, despite Gov. Mitch Daniels' belief that it will help Hoosier children become better overall students.
The local boards have that right, and I understand their reasoning: Financial concerns.
The board members -- and superintendents -- deserve a pat on the back for looking out for the taxpayers.
I'm not going to knock the boards for their decisions. They know their school corporations much better than I do.
But I would like to add my two cents worth on the issue.
First, most taxpayers don't understand the different funds superintendents and boards must deal with. Some believe a school can take from this fund to pay this person, and from another fund to do something else. It doesn't work that way, so getting additional money for full-day kindergarten -- if the state doesn't pay 100 percent -- is difficult.
But if it is close, I believe the overall benefit is well worth the belt-tightening.
I've lived with a preschool/elementary teacher the past 23-plus years, so I've heard many discussions about the pros and cons of full-day kindergarten and getting students off to a good start.
If full-day kindergarten is going to be a glorified daycare, then I'd vote against it every time.
If it's going to be set up for the students to learn social skills and academics, I say go for it.
Teachers are forced to deal with too many students in early elementary who lack social skills, and that takes away from the academic portion of the classroom.
What's wrong with getting students used to school in kindergarten, so that's not a problem in first grade? Can enough be accomplished in half-day kindergarten?
I'm not a big fan of the ISTEP test, and making students worry about passing a test in order to graduate. I do believe students must be held accountable in some form, or they won't do their best work.
Experts agree that babies/preschoolers form habits early. Students are starting school younger and younger all the time, and that's a debate for another day.
What's wrong with trying to build a solid foundation for our students from the get-go.
As my wife will admit, I'm far from an expert when it comes to building or fixing anything. But I do know that without a good foundation, a home, barn or student won't hold up in the long wrong.
I do believe too many students are "pushed through the system" without that solid foundation. I don't blame teachers, principals or superintendents.
It's public education. Teachers are forced to try and reach as many students as possible, and sometimes the bottom and top students are hurt.
The slower-learning students don't get the attention they need, and the top students aren't challenged.
It's not a perfect system. But if we start our students with a better foundation from the beginning, I believe it would help.
If you have a preschooler, let your local school board know how you feel. It's your child's future.
Chris is the general manager/editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org