This letter was submitted to the Lacey Township School District by a Lacey resident.
Dear Lacey School District,
Parents in Forked River have recently been informed about a full day kindergarten pilot program in Lacey that will begin in September of 2012. That is awesome news for our children and can surely help shape our kids properly as they begin their academic careers. Thank you.
Being that 23 other school districts in Ocean County have full day kindergarten, it is more than great to have Lacey participating and benefiting. While this is good news for residents of Forked River, there are also a couple concerns, which I am sure you expected.
Students in the full time will benefit with an estimated 30 percent more reading and literacy, and 46 percent more math. A major concern is what about the kids that can still only go half days? They are going to be less prepared for first grade, while kids' fortunate enough to be picked from a lottery benefit with more education? I am not sure how this fair to the kids. Isn't the point to give all the kids the same, equal opportunity? (We understand this is a pilot program.)
also lists benefits such as lunch, physical education, and a better transition into first grade. Parents are definitely confused why only 20 to 30 percent of students will benefit. Something doesn't seem right with that.
All Lacey Township kids deserve the same opportunities and should always be the top priority, especially when starting their education. Nothing could be more important. While parents understand it is a lottery, how it that fair?
Some families have two working parents, and some do not. Why is that not being considered in whom is in going into the lottery? The point is, some families pay $500 or more a month to have their son or daughter in full time, extended hour day care because both parents work. Or maybe parents have their kid in daycare so they can learn and build proper social skills.
If a child is in part time kindergarten, working parents are still going to have to pay for before and after care somewhere because nothing is offered at the school.
If a family that only has one working parent gets picked through the lottery, they might be perfectly content with that. Sending their child full day not only gives them a huge education benefit, but some will surely claim it keeps their kid out of their hair all day.
While residents of Forked River know and understand what an anonymous lottery is, is that really the way it is going to work? People have friends; there are such things as politics everywhere. Trust us, people that have their kids in sports know the same thing.
At the end of the day, it is usually who you know, not what you know. While it could never be proven, parents are confident there would be at least a few people "placed" or "guaranteed" a spot in the program.
Make it fair for all, and have a meeting with parents, picking the names while everyone watches them drawn.
Being realists, we understand everything with a brand new program will not to fall into place at one time. It is new for the district, and hopefully will turn into a full time program for all children in the future. We are hopeful and positive that Lacey School District is trying their best, and is excited for the full time program.
In our opinion, parents would pay to educate their kids in a full day program, rather than miss a great opportunity based on a lottery that will give some kindergartners major advantages over others.
Full day kindergarten is a huge opportunity for children, especially for those that did not attend a preschool program. Boys and girls that have been in a preschool program, whether full or part time, already have advantages over stay-at-home kids. Something needs to bridge the gap and make it fair for all, not only financially, but also academically. The first years of a child's education can be just as important as their last.
Thank you for listening and we look forward to a fantastic school year.
Forked River Parents