Study Shows All-Day Kindergarten Plan Could Be an Act of Folly

A new study out of UC Berkeley has cast doubt over the benefits of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to expand full-day kindergarten.

JoonHo Lee and Bruce Fuller of UC Berkeley’s Early Childhood Think Tank have found that most schools already offer full-day kindergarten. Those that don’t — and would primarily benefit from a one-time injection of $750 million to expand kindergarten services — are predominantly located in affluent areas where the majority of students come from privileged backgrounds.

“If the Legislature’s and the governor’s priority is to close disparities in early learning, putting money into full-day kindergarten for affluent communities doesn’t accomplish what they’re trying to do,” Fuller said.

A much more effective plan would be to expand preschool or TK (transitional kindergarten) services, the researchers advised. While Newsom has proposed assistance for programs serving children under 5, the investment is much less ($245 million).

According to Lee and Fuller, full-day kindergarten is currently offered at 63% of high-income schools and 82% of schools that serve lower-income students.

Read more about the study at EdSource.