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States Far From Uniform in Commitment to Kindergarten

While high-quality preschool tops the agenda for many federal, state, and local officials, kindergarten—widely considered the first year of formal schooling—has received far less attention.

Despite kindergarten’s pivotal role in preparing children for reading and other academics, state laws on what districts must provide still vary widely, resulting in a patchwork of mandatory and voluntary half-day and full-day offerings. Those disparities can leave children less than prepared for the demands of 1st grade, some educators say.