CFED Scorecard

CFED Assets & Opportunity Scorecard

Full-Day Kindergarten

Educational opportunities in the first years of a child’s life are crucial in closing the achievement gaps between children in lower and higher socioeconomic groups. Studies have shown that full-day kindergarten strengthens a child’s cognitive abilities, creative problem-solving skills and social capability. Children who attend full-day kindergarten have higher academic achievement in later grades; have better attendance in kindergarten and grade school; show faster gains on literacy and language measures; have enhanced social, emotional and behavior development; and have reduced retention and remediation rates. 

What States Can Do

Many states leave decisions about kindergarten to local districts. Others require their districts offer half- or full-day kindergarten. However, to reap the full benefits of early education, states can require all districts to offer full-day kindergarten. 

Strength of State Policies: Full-Day Kindergarten

Does state require districts to offer full-day kindergarten? 1
StateFull-day kindergarten required?Requirement?
Alabama Full Day
Arizona Half Day
Arkansas Full Day
California Half Day
Colorado Half Day
Connecticut Half Day
Delaware Full Day
District of Columbia Full Day
Florida Half Day
Georgia Half Day
Hawaii Half Day
Illinois Half Day
Indiana Half Day
Iowa Half Day
Kansas Half Day
Kentucky Half Day
Louisiana Full Day
Maine Half Day
Maryland Full Day
Massachusetts Half Day
Michigan Half Day
Minnesota Half Day
Mississippi Full Day
Missouri Half Day
Montana Half Day
Nebraska Half Day
Nevada 2 Half Day
New Hampshire Half Day
New Jersey 3
New Mexico Half Day
New York
North Carolina Full Day
North Dakota Half Day
Ohio Half Day
Oklahoma Full Day
Oregon Half Day
Rhode Island Half Day
South Carolina Full Day
South Dakota Half Day
Tennessee Full Day
Texas Half Day
Utah Half Day
Vermont Half Day
Virginia Half Day
Washington 4 Half Day
West Virginia Full Day
Wisconsin Half Day
Wyoming 5 Half Day

Notes on the Data

1. "50 State Analysis: District Must Offer Kindergarten, March 2014," Education Commission of the States. Accessed July 2015. States receive credit if they require all districts to offer full-day kindergarten.

2. In certain Nevada school districts, the lowest performing schools with the highest numbers of limited English proficient students will start offering full-day kindergarten and free pre-kindergarten programs.

3. The Abbott District in New Jersey is required to offer Full-Day Kindergarten.

4. Full-Day kindergarten in Washington is being phased in beginning in the 2012-13 school year, beginning with the highest poverty schools. Statewide implementation will be achieved by 2017-18.

5. Wyoming statute requires one Full Day program per district.

How States Are Assessed

States receive credit if they require all districts to offer full-day kindergarten.

What States Have Done

Overall, 11 states and the District of Columbia require school districts to offer full-day kindergarten programs. Thirty-four states require school districts to offer only half-day kindergarten programs, with the option to offer full-day kindergarten. Five states do not require districts to offer kindergarten at all. 

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