All-day kindergarten, common core up for discussion at D-304 forum

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

GENEVA – Apparently, all-day kindergarten in Geneva District 304 will be a foregone conclusion, officials said, as Illinois lawmakers are expected to make it mandatory by  2016.

Still, parents Jennifer and Matthew Cox told school board members at a forum Monday they supported all-day kindergarten.

"We have a kindergartener there right now at Heartland now and a son who will be going there in a few years," Jennifer Cox said. "We have found that it's such a rigorous program. It's only 2 1/2 hours ... and there's so much to learn."

Officials scheduled the forum to allow parents to talk about all-day kindergarten, common core curriculum, communication and anything else they wanted.

Resident Sandra Ellis questioned why there was a discussion when it seemed to be "almost a done deal."

"It is premature to have a forum if you do not know the cost of it," said Ellis, a member of TaxFACTS, a local property tax watchdog group. "We're in trouble with our debt and to add this on now, an additional imposition on the taxpayers."

Board member Leslie Juby said legislation is expected in the January session to implement all-day kindergarten statewide by 2016.

As to the state-mandated Common Core State Standards, Superintendent Kent Mutchler said it was "to learn things in greater depth."

"In the past, our curriculum was wide but shallow," Mutchler said. "Common Core makes it more narrow but deeper."

Parent Laura Lemke said her fifth grader was among others who were struggling with the way math was being taught with the common core standards.

"My fifth grader is frustrated as we have heard, but my second grader is picking it up fairly quickly," board member Bill Wilson said. "I wish I could have learned it this way. It's a lot more intuitive. In long run, it's good for our students. There's a little pain, but the pain is worth it."

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Jan Schlictmann at a Geneva law firm.

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