Education A State Capitals Roundup

N.H. Board Kills Kindergarten Plan

By Debra Viadero — April 12, 2005 | Corrected: February 22, 2019 1 min read

Corrected: This news brief erred in saying that New Hampshire is the only state that does not require public school districts to offer kindergarten. According to the Education Commission of the States, six other states also do not mandate kindergarten.

The New Hampshire state school board has voted against requiring districts to provide kindergarten, leaving New Hampshire’s status intact as the only state without such a mandate.

The proposal was part of a package of sweeping changes the board hoped to make this year in its rules for accrediting schools.

State school board member Fred Bramante said the panel stripped the kindergarten mandate on March 30 in response to opposition from some lawmakers who argued that the proposal was an “unfunded mandate” prohibited under the state’s constitution.

Ellen J. Shemitz, the president of the Children’s Alliance of New Hampshire, a Concord-based advocacy group, noted that lawyers for the state had disagreed with the legislators’ legal interpretation.

“It truly is a no-brainer that we should have kindergarten as a matter of law and policy,” she said. According to Ms. Shemitz, 16 of New Hampshire’s 88 districts do not provide public kindergarten for 5-year-olds.