HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Economy & Education » Education (Group) » Story Time’s Over Kinderg...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 09:45 PM

Story Time’s Over Kindergartners—Time To Write Expository Essays!

The testing mania that has dominated education reform for the past decade has only indirectly affected kindergartners (the federal and state tests do not start until second grade). However, because the stakes for schools are so high (low test scores can mean reconstitution, mass firings of teachers, forced take over by a charter school), curriculum development and implementation at all grade levels are now influenced by the tests. At some schools, this means a reduction or elimination of arts, music, physical education and even science to make room for math and English support or for test preparation. It may also include practice bubble-in tests at the kindergarten and first grade levels.

At virtually all levels of K-12 education it has reduced the potential for learning activities that are spontaneous, fun, creative and rooted in students’ interests and experiences. While this may prepare children for a future life at a desk in a cubicle (perhaps one reason why the Gates Foundation has spent millions of dollars to promote the Common Core Standards (CCS), it also contributes to their alienation from and disdain for school and learning, as well as the increased stress and anxiety many teachers are noticing in their students.

Presently, despite the testing mania, kindergarten still retains some of the games, song, dance and other playful, lighthearted activities we remember from our own kindergarten experiences. This may soon change with the adoption of Common Core (CCS), which will supposedly put all children on the same learning track as others at their grade level, including the lower elementary grades.

On the surface this might seem like a common sense way to raise the bar and improve learning outcomes (based on the bogus assumption that teachers across the country do whatever they damned well please in the classroom and that there is little or no standardization across grade level). However, as Susan Ohanian shows in her recent critique of the video “From the Page to the Classroom: Implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English Language Arts and Literacy,” the CCS are incredibly rigid and stultifying and could have a detrimental effect on teaching and children’s attitudes toward school and learning. For example, even at the K-5 grades, the CCS require a 50-50 mix of fiction and nonfiction reading, with writing grounded in the texts, with no narrative writing or personal opinions permitted. (Click here for Ohanian's piece: http://www.dailycensored.com/gates-financed-common-core-standards-turn-kindergarten-into-global-economy-zone/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Dailycensored+%28Daily+Censored%29)

Here are just a few of Ohanian’s comments (you can read her full article at the Daily Censored):
The New York Post ran a piece Playtime’s Over, Kindergartners: Standards stressing kids out, explaining that the city Department of Education wants 4- and 5-year-olds to forget the building blocks and crayons and get busy writing “informative/explanatory reports.” This includes writing a topic sentence.
When my favorite group of second graders were studying a caterpillar’s transformation, some of the kids wrote me exuberant notes along with drawings about what they were learning. I didn’t check these notes for text complexity or topic sentences. Yes, some kindergartners are ready to read. But many children are harmed when, in the name of rigor and complexity, what was once second grade is now kindergarten. We don’t expect all babies to walk or talk at the same age. Why do we think five- and six-year-olds should be standardized in their learning—and shoved as a pack into more rigor? (Look up the definition and ask yourself if that’s what you want for a child you love.)
Professor of Curriculum and Teaching at Hunter College and author of numerous books on children’s literacy development, Sandra Wilde worries about the pressures on kindergartners. She suggests, “Read the book, watch the butterflies develop, act it out, but skip the close reading of long sentences. Fingerpaint butterfly pictures instead. What’s the hurry?”

Modern School
http://modeducation.blogspot.com/2013/02/fun-story-times-over-kindergartnerstime.html

10 replies, 1216 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 10 replies Author Time Post
Reply Story Time’s Over Kindergartners—Time To Write Expository Essays! (Original post)
Modern School Feb 2013 OP
Angry Dragon Feb 2013 #1
mbperrin Feb 2013 #2
duffyduff Feb 2013 #3
Squinch Feb 2013 #5
proud2BlibKansan Feb 2013 #7
duffyduff Feb 2013 #8
proud2BlibKansan Feb 2013 #9
AllyCat Feb 2013 #10
Modern School Feb 2013 #4
proud2BlibKansan Feb 2013 #6

Response to Modern School (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 09:57 PM

1. Republicans and Democrats are both to blame

get rid of Duncan and get a true educator in


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Modern School (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 01:16 PM

2. Entirely developmentally inappropriate.

Is child development no longer required for educators? I took 12 hours at the bachelor's level, and 12 more at the master's, and most of the crap that people are shoveling is simply completely inappropriate, and in many cases, impossible for the age of the student.

What part of critical thinking doesn't completely develop until age 25 is it that these money-lickers don't understand?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to mbperrin (Reply #2)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 06:43 PM

3. That's the point. It's to deliberately cause children to fail

so that they never make it to higher education. What I mean by higher education is high school. The neoliberal push is to educate children only to about a seventh- or eighth-grade level since few jobs require any skills. The neolibs see education as a total waste of money and resources.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to mbperrin (Reply #2)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 08:38 PM

5. Absolutely. It also eliminates the learning that the kids ARE neurologically ready for, and we see

the ramifications of that throughout the years. (Things like self regulation, right and left brain engagement, spatial relations and relationships between objects, body parts and body control.)

I remember a principal telling a kindergarten teacher not to teach letter formation, and just have the kids write essays. She said the letter formation would "naturally be learned as the children edited their work." The teacher replied: "I'm not about to ask them for a f***ing novel. They're having a hard enough time drawing a circle on a piece of paper!"

Needless to say, she was disciplined.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to mbperrin (Reply #2)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 12:28 PM

7. I was criticized recently for making that very point.

I was stunned to realize that not all teachers understand how important developmental appropriateness is. We stopped teaching it in teacher Ed programs and of course there is no time for it in TFA training. But it would seem as soon as you walk into your classroom the importance of developmental appropriateness would be an eye opener.


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #7)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 01:59 PM

8. That's why I rail against requiring seventh and eighth graders to learn algebra

Many if not most students of that age cannot think much in abstract terms, and they will fail it because algebra is entirely abstract. A few precocious kids can get it, but most cannot. I don't like seeing kids forced into special education resource when the problem is not with them but with developmentally inappropriate curriculum.

When I was in high school forty years ago, algebra was taught in the tenth grade. Even then, it was hard to grasp. Kids haven't changed much developmentally in the years since, but the standards are being upped so that more kids fail.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to duffyduff (Reply #8)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 05:20 PM

9. We start it in 3rd grade now

Check out Common Core.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to duffyduff (Reply #8)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 09:31 AM

10. I remember being in a self-led math program in elementary school in the '70s

I had finished the fractions/ratio/percent part, the metric system. There were a few of us with no room to move up so they tried to teach us all algebra in 5th grade. None of us could understand it. Later, in high school, we were all in advanced math. Having seen it before helped, but none of really could get it at 10 years old.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Modern School (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 08:26 PM

4. The point is to make money

Getting public schools to fail makes it easier to justify vouchers and private charter. Implementing new standards means more money to the testing and publishing companies. It is estimated that in California, alone, implementation of the CCS will cost $1-2 billion.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Modern School (Reply #4)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 12:25 PM

6. I wish more teachers understood that.

Thanks for what you're doing to help.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread