Kindergarten debate issues

I have two issues with Ms. Sutton’s opinion piece regarding the Solana Beach School Superintendent’s (“Superintendent’s”) decision to make the Global Education Program (“Global”) a full-day kindergarten program.

First, the issue Global parents had regarding the decision was not clearly articulated. On April 6, 2013, the Superintendent sent a letter to incoming kindergarten parents stating Global kindergarten was to be a full-day program even though parents applied thinking it was a modified day. The letter stated changes were being made to ensure Global kindergartners have the same “educational opportunities” as other students and to ensure they achieve the “academic foundations that will lead to future success.” Access and social justice were never raised in the letter and equity did not appear to be an “overriding factor.”

The main issue Global parents had with the decision was twofold: 1) the Superintendent could not adequately explain the reason for her decision and 2) she never involved the teachers in the decision-making process. The Superintendent told the teachers about the decision after the fact. It was the Superintendent’s failure to include the teachers in the decision-making process that upset parents.

Second, educational studies are not relevant to this discussion. Parents are entitled to make a decision based on what is best for their child. Global is an option. If parents did not believe in modified day kindergarten, they did not have to apply to Global. It is disingenuous to apply to a modified day program and then state that you feel intimidated because your teachers support such a program.

Indeed, Ms. Sutton concludes, “some young children do need down time to play, relax, … and enjoy outings with stay-at-home parents.” She recommends Del Mar and Solana Beach districts “provide parents a choice.” Before the Superintendent’s unilateral action, Global was this choice. Perhaps Ms. Sutton should have focused more on saving SBSD’s ability to provide a choice for parents rather than reigniting the battles experienced in Del Mar.

Shannon Kearns