Portable Problems

Just in case you forgot why mandatory all-day kindergarten was a bad idea…..

Davidsonville Elementary School was rebuilt just six years ago, but already two portable classrooms – or “learning cottages,” as they’re called at the school – are parked beside the building.

They’re a temporary solution to the space shortage at elementary schools across the county.

Like Davidsonville, many of the schools were built for traditional half-day kindergarten classes. But this fall, when the schools are required by the state to offer full-day kindergarten, they’ll have to find room for twice the previous number of kindergartners.

“The biggest issue has been that it has created a space crunch in our buildings,” said Alex Szachnowicz, chief facilities officer for county schools. “We’ve been making interior alterations to the buildings, installing relocatable classrooms.”

When the state mandated all-day kindergarten, as usual all of the impacts of such a decision were not taken into account, and I’m not just talking about the relative ineffectiveness of an all-day kindergarten program. Nobody seems to think about the impact of such an all-day program upon the learning environment. If computer labs and art rooms are being turned into kindergarten classrooms, how are the computer and fine arts education of all elementary school students being impacted? What are the long-term ramifications of those changes to the curriculum on those upper-elementary students?

And that says nothing about the complete waste it is to have students in kindergarten for an entire day. I know remember that half-day kindergarten was nine months of my life I’ll never get back, learning about things I already knew….

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As usual, educational officials decide what is best for all students without taking a broad look at the impact on the entire school system and its surrounding environment. And when you are talking about impacting the curriculum for other grades and the need for billions more in infrastructure improvements, it shows that nobody took such other considerations seriously.


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