Thursday, January 04, 2007

Kindergarten Stats Don't Add Up

Yesterday's Courant news story, Success Easier In Connecticut by ROBERT A. FRAHM, Courant Staff Writer, mentions the following odd statistic.
Connecticut had high marks in most categories, ranking well above the national average in family income, parental education and employment, preschool enrollment, elementary school reading and mathematics achievement, high school graduation and college attendance, for example.

The state ranked below the national average in only one category, kindergarten enrollment, with 70 percent of eligible children enrolled in kindergarten, compared with a national average of 75 percent. State education officials are not sure why Connecticut lags in that area, but one possibility is that many parents have decided to postpone their children's enrollment to allow them to improve their readiness for kindergarten, said Frances Rabinowitz, associate state education commissioner.
What could Frances Rabinowitz be thinking about? By suggesting "one possibility is that many parents have decided to postpone their children's enrollment to allow them to improve their readiness for kindergarten" does Frances realize this has NOTHING to do with the percentage of eligible children attending kindergarten?

Now I'm just thinking aloud but if a child is held back this year then that very same child would be eligible next year. Let's call it a wash. In other words, whether a child attends this year or next has nothing to do with the actual percentage of students attending except to skew the total eligible from one year to another.

So that introduces a far more troubling possibility and that is that 30% of Connecticut's children are not attending kindergarten at all and nobody seems to know why.

There is nothing I've read in the education literature to suggest that skipping kindergarten is a healthy idea. More troubling would be the possibility that kindergarten is insufficiently funded thereby precluding kindergarten for our kids.

Maybe it's time for the department of Education to stop speculating and start investigating because something doesn't add up here. Every child eligible for school in this state should have that option and if its being denied because of stealthful underfunding practices then we have a problem.

3 comments:

Connecticut Man 1 said...

Just a thought:
Perhaps it reflects a higher number of kindergarten aged children being homeschooled?

Anonymous said...

Higher percentage of kids being homeschooled? One can only hope.
If that's the case, then parents are finally coming to their senses.

Frank Krasicki said...

This is certainly a possibility and I appreciate the feedback.

Let's break the argument down though to understand what that might mean. Let's say that every state can account for some percentage of home-schoolers.

So I looked up what percentage of children were claimed to be home-schooled here [part 227] http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/education/elementary_and_secondary_education_schools_and_enrollment/

It appears that the percentage of home-schooled children is a little over 2 percent based on reporting. Even an exaggerated margin of error won't explain the gap between 30% and, say, 3%.