86 percent of the school districts in New Jersey currently offer a kindergarten program. Assemblyman Charles Mainor has introduced legislation that would require every district to have one. His bill would also require kids to attend school at the age of five.
“I believe that it will better prepare our children because many of our children that attend first grades are not prepared, they’re left behind”, said Mainor.
Cecilia Zalkind is the executive director of Advocates for Children of New Jersey. She says making kindergarten mandatory would prevent it from falling victim to any cuts in education spending.
“When budgets are cut, when education funding is down, kindergarten is always on the chopping block. Because it’s not mandatory that’s an area where districts can save money or use money for other things.”
While he’s not sure how much it would cost, Assemblyman Charles Mainor says he proposed the mandatory kindergarten measure because he believes it’s needed to ensure children are properly prepared when they begin the first grade.