Bill Expanding 4-year-old Kindergarten Advances - WSPA.com

Bill Expanding 4-year-old Kindergarten Advances

Posted: Updated:
COLUMBIA, S.C. -

A bill that would expand 4-year-old kindergarten to all at-risk children in South Carolina advanced at the Statehouse Wednesday, after a state Senate education subcommittee passed it by a vote of 6 to 1.

"Right now, there is only a partial 4K program in specific counties that came from a lawsuit that was filed by districts in South Carolina," says Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Camden, sponsor of the bill. "And the idea here is it's time to transform early childhood education in South Carolina."

North Carolina and Georgia already have statewide 4K programs.

How much would the expansion cost taxpayers? "It would cost less than $100 million and, to put that in perspective, South Carolina had almost a billion dollars of increased, surplus revenue last year, so you don't have to raise taxes to do it," Sen. Sheheen says. "You have to just say early childhood education is a priority, and it should be a priority."

But state education superintendent Dr. Mick Zais is against the plan. His spokesman Jay W. Ragley told senators on the education subcommittee, "He does not support mandatory universal 4K. Now this bill isn't mandatory, but it is moving towards universal. And the reason he doesn't support mandatory universal 4K is the research is mixed, at best, on the results of a 4-year-old program. Two recent federal studies, of what many consider to be the gold standard in early childhood education is the Head Start program, have shown that, by third grade, the effects of a 4-year-old intervention wash out."

The state's own study, by the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee, of SC's 4-year-old kindergarten pilot program showed mixed results. Looking at state PASS test scores, students who were in the 4K program had lower achievement levels than those who did not have 4K. But when comparing the 4K students to other students who qualified for free or reduced-price lunch but did not have 4K, the 4K students had higher achievement levels.

Sen. Sheheen says, "The overwhelming amount of studies throughout the country, and the evidence in Georgia and in North Carolina, show that it helps long-term if we invest in early childhood education."

According to the Center for Public Education, in Georgia, 82 percent of former participants in the state's pre-kindergarten program had higher third grade readiness than students who did not have pre-K. It also cites South Carolina's smaller pre-K program. Before the program, 60 percent of children tested as being ready for first grade. By 1998, that figure had risen to 81 percent.

 

  • Top StoriesTop StoriesMore>>

  • Hendersonville Crews Battling Flames At W. Allen St. Apartments

    Hendersonville Crews Battling Flames At W. Allen St. Apartments

    Friday, April 18 2014 7:24 AM EDT2014-04-18 11:24:22 GMT
    Firefighters in Hendersonville are on the scene Friday morning of an apartment fire on West Allen Street.Firefighters in Hendersonville are on the scene Friday morning of an apartment fire on West Allen Street.
    Firefighters in Hendersonville are on the scene Friday morning of an apartment fire on West Allen Street.When crews arrived at the Ivy Terrace Apt. several units were fully engulfed in flames. All the residents were able to make it out safely but 3 people suffered minor injuries. They were taken to the hospital. none of injuries were life threatening.
    Firefighters in Hendersonville are on the scene Friday morning of an apartment fire on West Allen Street.When crews arrived at the Ivy Terrace Apt. several units were fully engulfed in flames. All the residents were able to make it out safely but 3 people suffered minor injuries. They were taken to the hospital. none of injuries were life threatening.
  • Pickens Azalea Festival Kicks Off Friday

    Pickens Azalea Festival Kicks Off Friday

    Pickens Azalea Festival Kicks Off Friday

    Friday, April 18 2014 4:53 AM EDT2014-04-18 08:53:22 GMT
    Azalea Festival kicks off Friday.Azalea Festival kicks off Friday.
    The Pickens Azalea Festival celebrates 30 years this weekend.It's one of the most popular festivals in the Upstate and is free and open to the public.This year the festival will feature entertainment on the main stage, and the new Pickens Amphitheater.7 On Your Side is a proud sponsor of the 2014 event.The fun begins Friday 10am as Your Carolina with Jack and Megan kicks off the festival with an hour long live show on main street in downtown Pickens followed by Carolina Now.
    The Pickens Azalea Festival celebrates 30 years this weekend.It's one of the most popular festivals in the Upstate and is free and open to the public.This year the festival will feature entertainment on the main stage, and the new Pickens Amphitheater.7 On Your Side is a proud sponsor of the 2014 event.The fun begins Friday 10am as Your Carolina with Jack and Megan kicks off the festival with an hour long live show on main street in downtown Pickens followed by Carolina Now.
  • Shots Fired After Armed Robbery At Anderson Store

    Shots Fired After Armed Robbery At Anderson Store

    Friday, April 18 2014 12:29 AM EDT2014-04-18 04:29:11 GMT
    Anderson police are searching for an armed robbery suspect.Anderson police are searching for an armed robbery suspect.
    Anderson police are searching for an armed robbery suspect. According to Lt. David Creamer, the call came in just after 9 p.m. Thursday for shots fired inside and outside the Thomas Food Mart on Tribble Street. Lt. Creamer says the suspect fled on foot.
    Anderson police are searching for an armed robbery suspect. According to Lt. David Creamer, the call came in just after 9 p.m. Thursday for shots fired inside and outside the Thomas Food Mart on Tribble Street. Lt. Creamer says the suspect fled on foot.
Powered by WorldNow

250 International Dr.
Spartanburg, S.C. 29303

Telephone: 864.576.7777
Fax: 864.587.5430
Email: webmaster@wspa.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.