Everyone in MA Deserves Free Full-Day K

Melissa's son Ev when he was in kindergarten helping decorate for Halloween
Melissa’s son Ev when he was in kindergarten helping decorate for Halloween: Bats and mummies tucked in behind photos and paintings on the wall. Ev is standing next to a skeleton wearing a blue checked shirt with pencils and a notepad in his pocket, and a very thick pair of round black glasses.

Originally posted on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/VoteMelissaSmith/posts/142992043748073

As Weymouth debates stepping up to offer free full-day K, it may’ve escaped notice that in the education bill passed several nights ago in the Massachusetts House, there was an amendment by State Rep. Patrick Kearney (D, Scituate/Marshfield) that would’ve provided support for establishing free full-day kindergarten to the towns and cities around the Commonwealth which don’t have it already. This amendment was overwhelmingly defeated. (The full vote can be found here on page 3, Roll Call 118 on Amendment 36, of the pdf which will download: https://malegislature.gov/Journal/House/191/RollCalls/hj10232019_RollCalls.pdf)

Working families in both Hingham and Weymouth, which both charge for full-day could’ve benefited tremendously from this, and in short order. Full-day Kindergarten costs $3500 per year in Weymouth, $3750 in Hingham, and that much or more out-of-pocket in many of our school districts. What could the average working family do with that extra $3500? How much more attractive to young families is a town which provides free K than one which doesn’t?

Investing in working families and helping to level the playing field by providing free full-day K in every school district in the Commonwealth would be a testament to our commitment to education, to working families, and to the future. Forcing some families to shell out $3500 to establish a solid educational foundation sends the opposite message. Our kids are at a disadvantage and so is our region.

I am excited about the prospect of Weymouth taking this step, but I believe state support of this process would make the transition much smoother. If I were in the state house, I would have voted Yes.

The full text of Amendment 36 of to H.4137 may be read here: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/GetAmendmentContent/191/H4137/36/House/Preview

For information about free full day kindergarten in Weymouth: https://www.patriotledger.com/news/20191025/weymouth-wants-to-offer-free-full-day-kindergarten-next-year

[Image in linked article is a photo of excited kindergartners in a fun classroom. They’re sitting in a circle, some with raised hands waiting to ask questions. A teacher and a student at a table in front are performing a demonstration.]

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