Governor Brian Sandoval outlined a list of priorities for education reform in his State of the State address Wednesday, including boosting graduation rates and ensuring that all students can read by third grade.
The governor also named expanding all-day Kindergarten in Nevada's schools as a necessary step to accomplish many of the other goals for education.
Educators say that if Nevada's students are going to read by third grade, the learning process needs to start sooner, with full-day Kindergarten.
"Imagine being a teacher with 30 children for two and a half hours, trying to teach them the Kindergarten standards," Washoe County School District Superintendent Pedro Martinez said. "It's almost impossible. In fact, it's impossible to get that done."
Many schools in Washoe County already have the full-day Kindergarten option, but like the full-day class at Roy Gomm Elementary School, a lot of the programs are tuition-based, meaning parents pay to keep their kids in class all day.
In his address the governor pledged $20 million over two years to bring all-day Kindergarten to half of Nevada's schools by 2015.
Superintendent Martinez said that may involve adding teachers, and even schools in the long-term, but for now, he's excited that the district can start building instead of cutting back.
"I'm very hopeful after hearing the governor, compared to two years ago when we were talking about gloom and doom, and cuts in education," Martinez said. "I love the fact that we're actually starting the session with a better tone."
Martinez said making sure students can read by third grade is the best way to predict whether they will graduate. He said kids who can't read by that level statistically don't have a good chance of finishing high school.
Sunday, May 19 2013 7:02 PM EDT2013-05-19 23:02:30 GMT
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