Friday, February 15, 2019

Nell Duke discusses potential legislation mandating kindergarten in Detroit News article

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Professor Nell Duke was quoted in an article by Jennifer Chambers of The Detroit News. “Mandatory kindergarten debate resurfaces” examines the arguments for and against a new bill education bill requiring kindergarten for Michigan children.

Legislation has been introduced to make kindergarten mandatory in Michigan, with State Rep. Bill Sowerby saying that children need to be better prepared in anticipation of the state's third-grade retention law that takes effect next school year. The proposed bill would require children who turn age 5 before or on Sept.1 to be enrolled in kindergarten for the upcoming school year.

Duke underscored that given the learning that is expected to occur in kindergarten now, if children enter first grade without it, it can be hard on the child, the teacher, and even classmates.

"Optional kindergarten can lead families to think that kindergarten is not important," Duke said. "Even families who enroll their child in kindergarten might think attendance is not important given that kindergarten is not mandatory anyway. A mandate helps send the message to families and schools that the learning opportunities of kindergarten are valuable."

It is still unknown if the kindergarten bill will be called up for a hearing.

Nell K. Duke is Professor

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