Lack of Equity Hurts Education

During this holiday season, I am taking the opportunity to look in the mirror.

“The main driver of steady progress of our school system since the 1970s has been consistent emphasis on enhancing equity, not academic excellence, in our school system.”

-Pasi Sahlberg, education reformer, Finland

The Children's Defense Fund (CDF) has the following data in the United States that demand our attention. First, the state of kindergarten:


Release Date: January 31, 2012 
CDF has taken a snap shot of the status of kindergarten in America in order to focus the national, state and local dialogue on the missing half-step of our public school K-12 system. A thorough review of the literature was done followed by research correspondence and calls with state department of education staff for clarification. Finally staff at all 50 state departments of education were given the opportunity to fact check.*
Please visit the CDF website for an interactive version of the above map

What Do the Colors Mean?
GREEN: Full-day kindergarten is provided at no charge to all children per state statute and funding.
ORANGE: State only requires school districts to offer half-day kindergarten and cannot charge tuition.
YELLOW: No state statute requires any type of kindergarten program although many school districts offer half-day kindergarten at a minimum.
RED: State allows school districts to charge families tuition for the “other portion of the kindergarten day”.

50 State Factsheets

AlaskaHawaiiMarylandNew HampshirePennsylvaniaWashington
ArizonaIdahoMassachusettsNew JerseyRhode IslandWashington, D.C.
ArkansasIllinoisMichiganNew MexicoSouth CarolinaWest Virginia
CaliforniaIndianaMinnesotaNew YorkSouth DakotaWisconsin
ColoradoIowaMississippiNorth CarolinaTennesseeWyoming
ConnecticutKansasMissouriNorth DakotaTexas
It is our intent to report annually on the state of the state of kindergarten in America and to support the increase in Full-Day K as it becomes a required step in our K-12 system of public education.
*Staff at all state departments of education were asked to review and respond with any corrections and/or edits. The following states have not commented on the facts specific to their state: Alabama, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington.
Special thanks to Dr. Kristie Kauerz, Project Director, PreK-3rd Grade Education, College of Education, University of Washington for her assistance.
The following are likewise important to note: (These are copied from the "The State of America's Children Handbook 2012", also published by the Children's Defense Fund)
To read the report, please visit