"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Kindergarten Rigor in Connecticut and the Kirkwood School District

What do you remember about kindergarten?  Was it the coloring?  The playing of games?  The songs?  The end of the  year recital?  I remember playing the triangle for a song in an "orchestra" and being dressed up in a crepe paper flower costume my mother made for the finale presentation.  

I don't remember rote activities, assessments and rigid expectations.  Probably most parents today don't think of kindergarten in those terms either.  Before parents get all excited about free all day kindergarten in their district and are eager to send their child for a magical experience, they might want to read this from the educational blog in the Washington Post, not known for conservative views:

There is no end to the bad ideas advanced in the name of school reform. Here’s one that will ensure that kids learn to hate school even earlier than usual: In Hartford, Conn., the superintendent of schools wants to extend the school year for some kindergartners to 11 months of the year. 

And these kids aren’t having a laugh riot at school as it is.

Some kindergartners there go to school from 7:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. — with no time for naps and no time to play, according to this story in The Hartford Courant.

“Play? No. No, no, no. This is no longer the case. Even in pre-K, for us, it’s no longer the case,” Immacula Didier, the principal at Betances Early Reading Lab School was quoted as saying by The Courant.

These students are being robbed of opportunities to learn through play that is carefully constructed, which early childhood experts say is the best way for them to develop their social-emotional and academic learning skills.

Think this won't happen at YOUR kindergarten class in your district?  Ask the kindergarten teachers about the expectations of the standards and assessments on kindergarteners thanks to the Common Core standards.  Better yet, ask to see them so you can read what is expected and assessed on a 5 year old child.  See how much time is dedicated to playing and exploring just for the fun of it.

Do you think your child might want to experience half day kindergarten instead? It's an uphill battle in the Kirkwood School District.  The district instituted "free" all day kindergarten (which is of course ludicrous as it's taxpayer funded) and have informed the parents who had been sending their children to the half day program this option was not an option any longer.  Apparently it's an issue in which the educators know best.  Silly parents.

Who would want their 5 year old on the fast track for being assessed to standards that may or may not apply to their particular learning style or ability at such a tender age?  If you are a parent who looks upon kindergarten time as free day care, you probably don't give such a question any thought whatsoever.  

I hope the half day parents stand firm and demand what is best for their children, not what is helpful for their own personal schedule or the mandates the school must follow.   After all, there is plenty of time for a child to be educationally tracked by the government to determine his/her data set and how that data is best suited for particular employment.  

From the Post:

Now all we hear is about getting kids ready for the rigors of rigor at school (“rigor” being an operative word today in education, even for 5-year-olds). That includes subjecting 5-year-olds to test after test.

Ask the superintendent if KSD is under these same tests.  Ask the kindergarten teacher to show you how your child will be assessed on test after test.  Is this really want you want for your child?

1 comment:

  1. Does anyone else see where this is going. Free full day Kindergarten at KSD is the first step. The next move in the KSD strategic plan is to offer Free preschool at the KSD early childhood center. Maybe we should place birthing centers in the grade schools, so the powers in charge can start even earlier educating our children.


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