Making History for Colorado’s Kids with Full-Day Kindergarten

SCAN volunteer Daniel Berger and legislative leader Jennifer Spires testified before the Colorado Joint Budget Committee earlier this month.

In his State of the State address in January, newly elected Colorado Governor Jared Polis proposed using the state’s entire budget surplus to fund full-day kindergarten in every school district by this fall. He also introduced a budget proposal to the state legislature that would allocate $227 million for full-day kindergarten in 2019.

Save the Children Action Network (SCAN), including all of our volunteers in Colorado, are committed to making this bold plan to invest in kids a reality.

Coloradoans Support Early Learning

In 2018, SCAN commissioned a poll that showed the majority of Colorado voters believe early learning is “extremely important.” In fact, 58% of voters said they believed public education should start in pre-K!

Despite this support, the sad reality is that many Colorado families pay up to $500 a month to keep their child in kindergarten for a full school day. And school districts that do provide full-day kindergarten are often strapped for funding and must cut back in other areas, including teacher pay, maintenance or reduced schedules.

Due to all of these obstacles, 14,000 children in our state don’t have access to full-day kindergarten. Colorado’s kids are falling behind, and it’s time to level the playing field. That is why our volunteers are mobilizing to convince the Colorado state legislature to fund Governor Polis’ proposal this year.

Walking the Walk – Advocating for Our Kids

In early February, SCAN volunteers Kiki McGough and Daniel Berger testified before the Joint Budget Committee and expressed their desire to see the state do better by kids.

A long-time educator, McGough testified: “I spent close to 40 years working with high needs children and I know that early detection (and intervention) is one of the most effective ways to address learning disabilities and emotional needs of children at risk. When children are in school, all day, in quality kindergarten programs, they are more likely to receive the diagnosis and care they need before it is too late.”

Berger, the father of a toddler noted: “I want my daughter to know that she lives in a state that believes all children deserve a fair start in life and in school. It’s what’s right and it’s what’s good for her and all kids in Colorado. Fully-funded kindergarten will help make this happen.”

Since then, SCAN volunteers have turned out to town hall meetings with legislators to show support for full-day kindergarten and submitted nearly a dozen letters to the editor in support of full-day K. Students at Metro State University and the University of Denver signed petitions to legislators asking they pass a budget for full-day kindergarten. And students at local schools made valentine cards for legislators asking they “Have a Heart for Kids.”

All of these efforts help us get closer to making history by funding full-day kindergarten. But we need your help!

Use Your Voice for Kids

If you are a Colorado resident, email your legislator and ask they support a 2019 state budget for full-day K.

Not in Colorado? No problem! You can make a difference by urging the U.S. Congress to invest in kids.

Coloradans have made it clear that full-day K is a smart investment for our littlest learners and for our state. Together, we can make history and make this plan a reality!

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Annalise Romoser is the Colorado mobilization manager for Save the Children Action Network. Throughout her career she has led humanitarian, development, and human rights campaigns. She calls Colorado home, and works to engage and organize volunteers to make change for kids across the state.