Millions of educators and administrators innately know that the Common Core State Standards place an awful burden on our students. While this is hardly a new hypothesis, in today’s headlines, early childhood experts Defending The Early Years and Alliance For Childhood, released a report demonstrating how the Common Core harms our youngest learners, and can negatively impact their educational development. You can check out the video regarding the report right here:
“Reading in Kindergarten: Little to Gain and Much to Lose.” picks apart the underpinnings of the Common Core philosophy for younger learners, that in order to achieve long-term academic success, students must read not only in kindergarten, but pre-kindergarten as well. Some highlights from the report:
Many children are not developmentally ready to read in kindergarten, yet the Common Core State Standards require them to do just that. This is leading to inappropriate classroom practices.
No research documents long-term gains from learning to read in kindergarten.
Research shows greater gains from playbased programs than from preschools and kindergartens with a more academic focus.
Children learn through playful, handson experiences with materials, the natural world, and engaging, caring adults
The adoption of the Common Core State Standards falsely implies that having children achieve these standards will overcome the impact of poverty on development and learning, and will create equal educational opportunity for all children.
While the plan on transforming kindergarten into a more intense academic environment than it was in decades past began to manifest itself in the 1980’s, the concept of squeezing as much “rigor” into the school day as possible escalated with George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind initiative. The concept has only intensified with the introduction of the Obama administration’s “Race To The Top” campaign and the corporately-influenced Common Core federal standards, which are tied to hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding for the states.
The Common Core State Standards, the academic standards detailing what K–12 students should know in English language arts and mathematics, are provoking controversy across the educational and political spectrum. For kindergarten alone, there are more than 90 standards that young children are expected to meet.
90 standards! As a nation, we have allowed the intense pressure of high-stakes testing to trickle down to our youngest learners. Our kindergarten students were once encouraged learn and experiment using play and find their own personal interests. Now, they are forced to yield their budding inquisitiveness to unending bureaucratic pressure from the day they are separated from their parents. Rather than allow our kindergarten students to foster a natural love of learning, public schools today are restricting their progress and training them to become worker bees. They are taught that learning is not measured in cumulative day-to-day insights and victories, but in a series of computer tests… all while being compelled to give their individual personal information to the federal government as corporations exploit them throughout the process. While this report puts some research-based meat behind the arguments that the Common Core is harmful to little minds, to most parents and educators, it only proves what we’ve already known for quite some time.