Arizona Republicans have always been at war with Eastasia and have always loved full-day Kindergarten

06 Mar 2017 03:23 pm
Posted by: Donna

More than a decade ago I challenged then Arizona Senator John Huppenthal (R) in what is now District 18 (Ahwatukee/Chandler) for his seat. One of the hotly contested issues of the 2006 midterm was then-Governor Napolitano’s proposal to fund full-day Kindergarten for all public schools. Proponents of full-day K had a wealth of research backing them while their foremost opposition came in the form of one John Huppenthal, who repeatedly, and erroneously, cited a longitudinal study to bolster his view.

Former Senator and Superintendent of Public Instruction Huppenthal wasn’t alone among Republicans in opposing full-day K back then and he isn’t now. Here’s current Senator Steve Smith (R-Pinal County) a mere month ago suggesting parents (read: mothers) use it to shirk their child-rearing duties on the taxpayers’ dime:

Because there are no learning standards past the required 2 1/2 hours, not all schools set high academic expectations, said state Sen. Steve Smith, a Republican from Pima County. He said some constituents who paid for full-day kindergarten were unhappy.

“They played games. It was effectively babysitting time,” Smith said. “They did not have the same teacher as they did the first half of the day.”

“For me as a parent, to want to put my child in all-day K, there had to be some sort of actual achievement and learning going on the second half of the day,” Smith said.

But these attitudes have, for the time being at least, been flushed down the AZ Republican Caucus memory hole. Behold this email sent by Republican Representative Regina Hobb (Kingman) to her colleagues:

Dear Colleagues,

Last week in the Arizona Capitol Times I read a great article written by Julia Meyerson, the founder and principal of Vista College Prep, a high-performing K-5 elementary school located just south of downtown Phoenix. Vista College Prep was recently highlighted by “A for Arizona,” a project of the Arizona Chamber Foundation in partnership with the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, as a “fantastic model closing the achievement gap and dedicated to serving more students each year through growth and replication.”

Below is a link to the entire guest editorial from the Arizona Capitol Times in support of Governor Ducey’s efforts: news/2017/03/02/full-day- kindergarten-expansion- essential-to-arizonas- educational-success/

In her piece Julia shares, “the foundation for our success begins in kindergarten. We have committed to operating a full-day kindergarten program because the data tells us that a full day of kindergarten, especially in low-income communities, is essential. This commitment has only been made possible through substantial grant funding and generous donations. Without an increase in funding for full-day kindergarten, not only does sustainability and the ability to replicate continue to be a challenging proposition for us, but it gives schools the option to opt out of making kindergarten a designated, and fully funded grade.”

Julia’s comments are spot on, as is Governor Ducey’s commitment to early childhood literacy, and I look forward to working with you and supporting his efforts!

Gina Cobb

District 5

Don’t believe your lying eyes, ears, and memory. They’ve always loved full-day K.

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