Mandatory kindergarten proposed by state Board of Ed

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – All school districts would have to offer kindergarten in September 2007 under changes proposed by the state Board of Education.

The board is revising the minimum public school standards – the basic rules all schools must follow. It is required to do so every eight years.

Currently, 16 districts still don’t have kindergarten programs. In addition to that rule, the proposal shrinks the maximum allowable elementary class size and high school students would have to take three years of math instead of two.

The draft rules also ask schools to help each other discover their academic interests. By the 2008-2009 school year, all schools would have to develop what the board calls “personal learning strategies” for their students. Schools also are encouraged to take part in “Real World Learning,” offering creative ways to learn outside of the traditional classroom through internships, independent study or online courses.

A hearing will be held later this fall and the board will accept written comment. State lawmakers will weigh in and the final version is expected next spring or summer.