Category Archives: School Reform

How Not to Engage Kindergarteners

Read the letter from Harley Avenue Primary School in Elwood, New York, over at the Washington Post, where Valerie Strauss has provided the full text and reporting.

If you want kindergartners to lose engagement, just cancel their annual end-of-year show in the name of getting them “College and Career Ready.”

Really, you can’t make this stuff up.

Read the Washington Post article by Valerie Strauss, in which she shows the letter from the New York school administrators, explaining that the five-year-olds’ play has been cancelled. According to the school’s letter:

Although the movement toward more rigorous learning standards has been in the national news for more than a decade, the changing face of education is beginning to feel unsettling for some people. What and how we teach is changing to meet the demands of a changing world.

This is staggeringly sad, that educators must rationalize away the childhoods of children and promote the false notion that more early formal academics will somehow be of greater benefit to them than working together to create and perform a play.

On the other hand, when some wonder why “regular people” are choosing to homeschool their children, just send them a link to the article. If they don’t mistake it for a satirical piece from¬†The Onion,¬†they’ll probably get the point.



Will School Engage Your 5-Year-Old?

Notebooks, 17 centsMy mom was a teacher. My mother-in-law was an elementary school principal. And I was valedictorian of my high school class.

I’ve been told that to homeschool is “anti-school,” but my background made me about as pro-school as could be when I was a young parent. My older children began their educational careers in school.

But this testing thing was already getting out of hand about two decades ago in North Carolina when we lived there. The EOGs, or End of Grade tests, that were instituted at my kids’ public school at that time were one of the reasons I decided to homeschool. Not only did the tests have a negative effect on many children, but the practice tests my own kids brought home were riddled with errors of logic and fact — and they didn’t even address the things I felt were important in education, like critical thinking, inquiry, logic, and creativity.

Today, we get this — “A Very Scary Headline About Kindergartners” — a WaPo article which discusses an op ed written by two top level education administrators in Oregon, who are lamenting the “sobering snapshot” provided by kindergarten test results.

This kind of thinking has our educational institutions pushing formal academics to younger and younger children.
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