SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois school districts will offer full-day kindergarten within the next four years under a bill passed by state Rep. Mary Beth Canty, D-Arlington Heights.
“Research from the National Education Association demonstrates that full-day kindergarten leads to better educational outcomes and greater opportunities for social-emotional learning. Data shows that children in full-day classes even show greater reading and math achievement than those in half-day classes,” Canty said. “Not only that, but full-day kindergarten benefits all parties, giving children more time to learn, teachers more time to educate, and working parents more accessible and affordable sources of child care.”
Currently, school districts may provide either half-day or full-day kindergarten. Canty’s House Bill 2396 provides a four year period in which school districts must begin to offer full-day kindergarten. The bill establishes the Full-Day Kindergarten Task Force to inform the planning and implementation of full-day kindergarten in the state. The measure also allows struggling schools to get a waiver for an extension for full-day kindergarten implementation. Schools are still allowed to establish a half-day program if the district sees desire and need for it, but must offer full-day kindergarten.
“An investment in our students is an investment in our future. Full-day kindergarten helps to level the playing field in terms of early childhood education, setting our youngest learners up for a lifetime of academic success,” Canty said. “I strongly urge the Governor to sign this bill and continue to prioritize Illinois students.”
House Bill 2396 passed the Illinois General Assembly and now heads to the Governor for consideration. For more information on Canty’s legislative agenda, please visit www.ilga.gov.