Governor Jared Polis Holds Kindergarten Close to his Heart

Governor Jared Polis in a Kindergarten Class

When Governor Jared Polis of Colorado was a new governor, I asked him: what is close to your heart? His response was: “Education, specifically full-day kindergarten.”  

Emphasizing his commitment to education, Polis, in his first budget proposal, specified to the Joint Budget Committee, General Assembly and the people of Colorado: “It’s time for Colorado to build an education system that gives every  single child regardless of zip code, race --- -the tools to build a great life and succeed.  My top priority this year is to take the first step in building this system by providing access to to free full-day kindergarten -----“

According to recent statistics as reported by the Education Commission of the States, a small fraction of our fifty states, merely thirteen states plus the District of Columbia, require school districts to offer full-day kindergarten. 

Some of us who grew up during a time when there only was a half-day kindergarten or perhaps never even attended kindergarten might ask, “why spend the money on a longer day for pre-first graders?”

Data has proven that those who have early education follow direction better, learn how to schedule themselves and learn values. Youngsters with such a background have a greater chance of graduating high school, have higher reading scores, and less chance of ever ending up in prison.

Yes, it may require more tax money. On the other hand, our prisons may become less crowded. There might be fewer requests for food stamps, fewer homeless people, and more people to fill all kinds of jobs, including high tech jobs.  The openings for responsible truck and bus drivers, research positions, medical posts, are always in need employees. When the seed for success is planted in kindergarten, children are imbued with the right attitude, positive confidence and trustworthiness. It all starts in kindergarten and everyone benefits.



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