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9th April
2009
written by Sean Noble

The Arizona Republic reports that the Deer Valley Unified School District will lay-off 73 teachers and 32 librarians because of funding shortfalls.  This isn’t very good news, but it isn’t unexpected either given the combination of revenue shortfalls and an actual decline in enrollment.

 

Interestingly, the Republic story didn’t report a fairly major development from the school board meeting – that DVUSD will continue to offer full-day kindergarten.  Below are excerpts of the email sent out by the district on Wednesday.

From: “DVUSD News” webmaster@dvusd.org

Sent: Wednesday, April 08, 2009 4:02 PM

Subject: DVUSD News – DVUSD Saves Full-day Kindergarten

 

 

DVUSD Saves Full-Day Kindergarten

 

At the Deer Valley Unified School District (DVUSD) Governing Board special meeting held on Tuesday, April 7, the Governing Board recommended staffing reductions to the 2009-10 budget which did not include full-day kindergarten. DVUSD will continue to provide its kindergarteners with full-day curriculum taught by certified teachers.

 

DVUSD Superintendent Dr. Virginia McElyea said, “Keeping full-day kindergarten at no cost to our parents is important to the district. Our full-day kindergarten students have an academic edge over students in half-day kindergarten when measured at the end of the academic year.”

 

Families that live outside the district boundaries can enroll their child for a DVUSD school by filling out an open enrollment form and bringing it to the school of their choice.

I’ve already written about my feelings toward full-day K. Notice the caveat in the quote from Dr. McElyea, “Our full-day kindergarten students have an academic edge over students in half-day kindergarten when measured at the end of the academic year.”  What she doesn’t say is that by third grade, any measurable “edge” is lost and there is no difference in the academic performance between students who had full-day K students who had half-day K.

So we sacrifice teachers and librarians over the fad of full-day K.  This is just another example of what is wrong with public education.

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7 Comments

  1. […] University Diaries placed an observative post today on DVUSD to Teachers: Get LostHere’s a quick excerptSo we sacrifice teachers and librarians over the fad of full-day K.  This is just another example of what is wrong with public education. […]

  2. Ann
    09/04/2009

    OK, you kow I love ya…but…how do we fix it Sean? And please do not go the easy answer that is no real answer with the voucher route. The steady drum beat of “bad public ed” is fine if there is at least a modicum of interest in fixing the perceived problem with something better than a scorched earth approach.

    Lumping is not a good thing, blanket statements are usually short sighted….think about the snarky lines that could be said of Congressional Aides or even lifelong Congressmen, probably based on the one-sided or short-sighted perception of the commentator.

    Doesn’t mean there is not room for improvement, but it is not fair and not true.

    On the other hand….I do not understand the lay-offs, there are ways to avoid them that do not infringe one the delivery of educational services or require larger class sizes. But I do not know the whole story. Has Deer Valley had a K-3 override in years’ past that indicated strong public support for all-day K? Do they have a parent survey or other means of asking for the preferences of the patrons? Hmmmmm.

  3. Woody
    09/04/2009

    Another issue is the impact all day K has on classroom size and student to teacher ratios. Class size/ individual attention has more to do with a kindergartner’s learning than hours in the classroom. They could take that all day class of 30 and make two half day classes of 15 for the same money, or better yet, hold the line on class size in other primary grades where it would really have lasting results.

  4. Woody
    09/04/2009

    The preferences of patrons for all day K is what put Janet Napalitano back into office–however it is a preference for free child care, not education.
    Deer Valley School District is losing students in older neighborhoods not because the neighborhoods don’t have children, but because their parents are choosing to send them to charter schools that are outperforming the older elementary schools the district administration is neglecting.

  5. Danny Mazza
    09/04/2009

    When my wife and I are blessed with children, I think I would want them to go to all-day kindergarten. However, if forced to choose, I’d rather have more teachers in later grades so there are smaller class sizes. Bonnie and I can pick up the slack at home and teach the children anything missing in school. It’s a shame these teachers are going to lose their jobs when there are other options not being exercised.

  6. Zach
    10/04/2009

    The only real indicator of future academic success is family support. But what happens to society when we let children whose parents have no other choice (low income, single parent, etc.) than to constantly work? I beieve educators often feel obligated to fill the role of parent, especially in such circumstances. So is there a happy middle ground?

  7. Ann
    11/04/2009

    Zach, the actual single indicator of student success is the educational level of the mother, that is followed by one adult in the system who the child felt actually cared about their success somewhere along the way. When it became culturally necessary to have two incomes and culturally accepted to divorce at record rates…the needs of family and children became the casualty.

    Unless the necessary changes are made at the grades post-K, the gains are lost and all things equal out by 3rd grade. Many districts have had all day K for years before Janet. The data is clear, the system of support following Kindergarten is more a part of the success than seat time in Kindergarten.

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