Today, #copolitics social media was alive with the sounds of liberals screaming at Republicans for not immediately passing SB-23, which would mandate free full-day kindergarten for all Colorado kids. There’s one big problem with this scheme – it has a massive price tag of $132.7 million for 2017 alone.
Actually, there are many problems with this free full-day kindergarten idea other than the price tag. First of all, offering free full day kindergarten should not be a state-mandated endeavor. This option should be decided at the local school and school district level by teachers, administrators and parents. In fact, many schools already offer this option.
Second, this is merely a union payback from some of the candidates the teachers union most supported. Don’t believe it? Imagine the increase in unionized kindergarten teachers. This coming at a time when union membership is waning across the country. What about potential pension costs? Does the $132.7 million include the cost of PERA or other retirement?
What about parents’ decisions for their children? Some parents in other states have complained that a full day of kindergarten is too long for their kids to be in school at such a young age. Mandating full-day kindergarten robs parents of that choice.
This legislation sounds like a good thing, but the fine print is problematic. Let parents and local schools make decisions about offering extra services like free and mandated full-day kindergarten. The state government should not enable a union payback by the union’s favorite elected pets.