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Educators discussing full-day kindergarten

The State Board of Education has approved continuing discussions about offering full-day kindergarten for Utah children in need.

Friday the board approved forming a committee to rework a resolution supporting full-day kindergarten, with two conditions: It is optional and focused on at-risk students, the definition of which has not yet been pinned down.

"It isn't all-day kindergarten for everyone," chairman Kim Burningham said after the meeting. "For some kids, it's a great tool to help bring them up to level in the long run."

Thursday, the board viewed research backing his statement. It also heard from parents concerned that full-day kindergarten discussions could become a slippery slope to mandating it for all, which they felt could be detrimental to families.

Utah's compulsory education laws do not require kindergarten.

The board is to examine the resolution in January.

Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.'s budget is expected before year's end. Burningham has said he expects to see funding for some type of full-day kindergarten program in it.

"We've certainly had indications he's sympathetic to that kind of (all-day kindergarten for at-risk children) approach," Burningham said.