Kindergarten May be Required in Near Future

Kindergarten May be Required in Near Future

July 22, 2010 Updated Jan 11, 2006 at 1:27 AM EDT

Despite what seems to be popular belief, children are not required to attend Kindergarten in New York State.

Local school districts are not even required to provide it.

But, it's something that may change as the state and country alike strive to keep up with global education standards.

"We now expect first graders to be able to read sight words and understand basic math concepts," said Carol Boyce of the Susquehanna Valley School District.

Because so much is expected of youngsters, New York's Board of Regents is reviewing Early Education policies.

The mandatory school age is now six.

A proposal to lower it to age five may soon follow, along with a requirement that all children attend Kindergarten.

This is something people WBNG spoke with believe is important.

"I think that kindergarten is very important. Children learn a lot not just education, but socially," said Tom Tinder of Johnson City.

"It starts the kids young enough to get acclimated to teacher learning and discipline," said Bernard Cerveni.

Right now, most children attend Kindergarten, even though it's not a requirement.

Most school districts provide it, but for those that don't, it could become a financial burden.

"There are a few districts around the state that have no Kindergarten or half day. It would probably impact them financially," said Boyce.

The Board of Regents is now holding its monthly meeting in Albany, and could require schools to provide Kindergarten, and require most five-year-olds to go.

Supporters say it would bring policy in line with actual practice.

The Board of Regents is also considering other changes, including expanding pre-kindergarten.

It would like to get nearly $100 million from the state legislature to make pre-K available to more students.

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