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Kindergarten in Pennsylvania: Decision Making in School Districts and the Effects of Current State Policies

Stokes, Paige (2015) Kindergarten in Pennsylvania: Decision Making in School Districts and the Effects of Current State Policies. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This thesis examines how Pennsylvania public school districts decide to offer full-day or half- day kindergarten and the effects of related state policies on decision-making. All 499 of Pennsylvania‟s superintendents from school districts that offer kindergarten received survey invitations, and 162 leaders from Pennsylvania‟s public schools completed a survey that focused on how districts‟ decided to provide full- or half-day kindergarten for the 2014-2015 school year, the influence of funding specifically, and the effects of Pennsylvania‟s compulsory school age. The researcher also analyzed kindergarten enrollment from 2003 to the present, specifically examining the change in kindergarten program type with respect to the overall socioeconomic status (SES) of students served, in relation to the availability of Accountability Block Grant funds, which were commonly have been used to create and sustain full-day kindergarten programs. Money was an important factor in decision-making among school districts planning to offer full-day kindergarten and those planning to offer half-day kindergarten. A lack of available funds was a chief factor in most school districts‟ decision to offer half-day kindergarten, although this was less so for school districts in the highest SES categories. School districts offering full-day kindergarten indicated multiple important factors in their decision, most commonly indicating factors supporting academic outcomes for students who attend full-day programs. The availability of money was also an important factor among participants who indicated that their school districts intended to offer full-day kindergarten for the coming year, and participants indicated ways that their districts ensured the availability of funds through budgetary reduction strategies. The compulsory schooling age had nearly no influence on school districts‟ decision-making or on student enrollment in kindergarten. Implications for policy are considered.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Stokes, Paigepcs20@pitt.eduPCS20
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorGunzenhauser, Michaelmgunzen@pitt.eduMGUNZEN
Committee MemberTrovato, Charlenetrovato@pitt.eduTROVATO
Committee MemberTananis, Cynthiatananis@pitt.eduTANANIS
Date: 30 January 2015
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 11 November 2014
Approval Date: 30 January 2015
Submission Date: 29 January 2015
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 107
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: kindergarten, early childhood education, education policy, elementary school, full-day kindergarten, half-day kindergarten
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2015 14:43
Last Modified: 20 May 2021 18:24


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