The Disturbing Transformation of Kindergarten

nclbOne of the most distressing characteristics of education reformers is that they are hyper-focused on how students perform, but they ignore how students learn. Nowhere is this misplaced emphasis more apparent, and more damaging, than in kindergarten.

A new University of Virginia study found that kindergarten changed in disturbing ways from 1999-2006. There was a marked decline in exposure to social studies, science, music, art and physical education and an increased emphasis on reading instruction. Teachers reported spending as much time on reading as all other subjects combined.

The time spent in child-selected activity dropped by more than one-third. Direct instruction and testing increased. Moreover, more teachers reported holding all children to the same standard.

How can teachers hold all children to the same standards when they are not all the same? They learn differently, mature at different stages – they just are not all the same especially at the age of 4-6.

Is this drastic shift in kindergarten the result of a transformation in the way children learn? No! A 2011 nationwide study by the Gesell Institute for Child Development found that the ages at which children reach developmental milestones have not changed in 100 years.

For example, the average child cannot perceive an oblique line in a triangle until age 5 ½. This skill is a prerequisite to recognizing, understanding and writing certain letters. The key to understanding concepts such as subtraction and addition is “number conservation.” A child may be able to count five objects separately but not understand that together they make the number five. The average child does not conserve enough numbers to understand subtraction and addition until 5½ or 6.

If we teach reading, writing, subtraction and addition before children are ready, they might memorize these skills, but will they will not learn or understand them. And it will not help their achievement later on.

Illinois kindergartenChild development experts understand that children must learn what their brains are ready to absorb. Kindergarten is supposed to set the stage for learning academic content when they are older. If they are going to push our kindergarten children to move faster, what does that say for the push for “educating” Pre-K?

Play is essential in kindergarten – in fact in any child under the age of 5. Through play, children build literacy skills they need to be successful readers. By speaking to each other in socio-dramatic play, children use the language they heard adults read to them or say. This process enables children to find the meaning in those words.

There is a wide range of acceptable developmental levels in kindergarten; so a fluid classroom enables teachers to observe where each child is and adjust the curriculum accordingly.

Two major studies confirmed the value of play vs. teaching reading skills to young children. Both compared children who learned to read at 5 with those who learned at 7 and spent their early years in play-based activities. Those who read at 5 had no advantage. Those who learned to read later had better comprehension by age 11, because their early play experiences improved their language development.

Yet current educational policy banishes play in favor of direct instruction of inappropriate academic content and testing; practices that are ineffective for young children.

The No Child Left Behind Law played a major role in changing kindergarten. Upper-grade curricula were pushed down in a mistaken belief that by learning reading skills earlier, children would fare better on standardized tests. Subjects not tested by NCLB were de-emphasized. Lawmakers insisted that standardized tests assess reading at earlier ages, even though standardized tests are invalid for children under 8.

ccs I cantThese changes have the harshest effect on our most vulnerable children. The UVA study found that in schools with the highest percentage of children of color and children eligible for free-and-reduced-priced lunch, teachers had the most demanding expectations for student performance.

To make matters worse, the drafters of the Common Core ignored the research on child development. In 2010, 500 child development experts warned the drafters that the standards called for exactly the kind of damaging practices that inhibit learning: direct instruction, inappropriate academic content and testing.

These warnings went unheeded.

Consequently, the Common Core exacerbates the developmentally inappropriate practices on the rise since NCLB. Teachers report having to post the standards in the room before every scripted lesson, as if 5-year-olds can read or care what they say. They time children adding and subtracting, and train them to ask formulaic questions about an “author’s message.” All children are trained in the exact same skill at the same time. One teacher lamented that “there is no more time for play.” Another wrote “these so-called educational leaders have no idea how children learn.”

It may satisfy politicians to see children perform inappropriately difficult tasks like trained circus animals. However, if we want our youngest to actually learn, we will demand the return of developmentally appropriate kindergarten.

Wendy Lecker – she is a columnist for Hearst Connecticut Media Group and is senior attorney for the Campaign for Fiscal Equity project at the Education Law Center.

94 thoughts on “The Disturbing Transformation of Kindergarten

    • This is good information. I currently have trouble in my daughters school. She is 7 in the 2nd grade. I believe it’s because of this new way of teaching. She has low grades and are demanding to meet a quota with all these testing. I spoke to school already because my daughter says her teacher us mean. And she is did not want to go to school anymore. Her last teacher was great. What can I do?

    • I believe there is not one theory or practice that is going to encompass the entire kindergarten age to perform at the same level, at the same time. Teachers cannot begin to hold students accountable for the same standards. Behavior, cognitive, maturation, and social skills are just a few developments that make up the difference in each child. You also have to add in the outside effects such as family stressors, children’s health, diversity, and poverty that also make up the well being of a 5-6 year old. Standard testing only puts more pressure on the teachers and their students. It dictates what children have to learn and what grade level. All states now have these standards for each grade and each subject matter. I believe if the states are going to hold the schools and teachers to these standards , they need to also hold parents accountable for their parenting skills and treat them as professionals. If every child was born mentally and physically perfect, into a perfectly stable home…with professional, perfect parents who could prepare them to enter school with no disabilities or outside influences…I still would not agree that every child would perform at the same level. Unless of course, they are all robots! Is this the direction we are headed? I certainly hope not.

  1. We have forgotten the child!!!!!!! It is all about Politics and money. We have put all of our children in a box and if they do not fit….TOO BAD. The people who write all of this new STUFF need to be a classroom teacher for a year and then write a program. I suspect they would view children a little different…..As Individuals Not Robots working some type of technology.

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    • The very countries they are trying to hold our children up to as “excellent in education” do not test but maybe once every 4-5 years because they found it not to be valuable. The CCS is a political power scam implemented by non-educators politicians.

      • The heart of Common Core is to take time to go into a subject rather than to skim over lots of subjects. It is to help students explore big ideas and see how they relate to so many other areas of their life. It give students the freedom to learn to read a wide range of text and to broaden the traditional view of text. Text and the reading of text includes the materials that relate to a given subject. So if you are in art you discover how artist read paintings, sculpture and mores and

      • Kristen, unfortunately our children will not get that reading tecnological and instructional manuals in middle school. I am sorry you are still asleep and I hope you have no children as it will be hard to watch the Commie Core” turn your child into a dumbed down idiot.

      • This is for anyone who can answer my question… i have a 6 yr old that can count and is very smart she can talk very good. She recognizes some letters and words but can not read. She is going into 1 st grade, and i was wondering if her school is the same as a waldorf. They say its a inspired waldorf school so do you think theres a difference. Do you think its ok for her not to be able to read a book.. im just worried that i messed her up in school. She loves books she pretends to read the book with her dolls… what should i do? Help.
        And sorry if i dont make sense.. .. my first time here.

      • Sorry I did not get back to you sooner, but no for me there is no such thing as a Waldorf inspired school. If they are following anything of Waldorf I would stay very far away. It is another form of indoctrination. If you can possibly do it with a smart child at 6, form a Home School Coalition or check and see if there is one where you live. This is currently the only preservation for any of our children. Charters won’t help they teach Common Core, Vouchers aren’t going to help as Catholic and parochial schools are teaching Common Core for the money. Any Charter school claiming they are a Classical school is using Core Knowledge curriculum which is Common Core aligned.

        I am so sorry for people with children in school right now and I look at my great-grandkids and I worry. Good luck!


      • So what your saying is I as PARENT did wrong to sign my daughter up for a waldorf inspired elemantary school.? I feel really bad now and i feel i did something wrong, i went to a public school a normal school. I HATEED it so much…. can you tell me the differences….pls?

      • Sorry this is late in response to you. Waldorf schools are not good and have been on the outside of the norm for years. Most anyone I know from around the country believe the Waldorf schools and their beliefs are a form of religion as is the curriculum for International Bacculaurate. If you have any other questions you may e-mail me at Safest bet in today’s world – Home School!

      • Dear Liliana,
        I had all 3 of my daughters attend a Waldorf school and am totally happy. They are independent and unique. They make their own choices and are not swayed by advertisements and peer pressure. The important core of Waldorf education is connecting – with the world, with other people and with ourselves. Learning how to live together in our multi-perspective world is not taught anywhere besides Waldorf. I think you made a great choice. And I do know there are a lo of negative people on the internet ‘dissing’ Waldorf. I don’t know why. SOme say it is too religious. SOme say it is heretical. I think it is really about the particular people (teachers and admin) at a particular school that determine that aspect.
        Don’t be swayed by people’s opinions on the internet. Go to the school. See what it feels like for YOU. How is your child doing? Thriving or not? These are what really matter.
        Wishing you the best!

      • Stephen you are right, however unless you make unannounced visits to your child’s school you will never know what is going on for sure. Waldorf schools and their well known “emphasis on the worship of the earth and the “spiritual world” are similar to what the United Nations is teaching through the Earth Charter.

        This is a quote of Steiner to his teachers: ” We can accomplish our work only if we do not see it as simply a matter of intellect or feeling, but, in the highest sense, as a moral spiritual task. Therefore, you will understand why, as we begin this work today, we first reflect on the connection we wish to create from the very beginning between our activity and the spiritual worlds.…Thus, we wish to begin our preparation by first reflecting upon how we connect with the spiritual powers in whose service and in whose name each one of us must work“. –Rudolf Steiner addressing Waldorf teachers

  3. Play time is so very important to a child’s development. I believe children want to learn and will at their own pace. We are all learn differently. Just becaus a child is not ready for certain challenges does not mean they are slow or need to be medicated. Let them grow and become who they are meant to be.

    • Dianemarie–Waldorf schools do not teach any type of religion or spirituality. Your Steiner quote was him speaking to the teachers, not the students. There is no indoctrination of any kind. I urge you to visit a Waldorf school and actually speak with people there. There are websites to support any belief, go in person and find out. Take a class at one of the many training institutes, ask questions directly of the students and teachers there. You actually have no idea what Waldorf is really about. I am an Early Childhood teacher and if a child is not reading at age 6 it is actually ok. Some children take a bit longer, but when it all clicks they catch up quickly and may even surpass others in their class. Each child is an individual and that’s also the point of the article. No one education works for everyone.

      • I do believe my article was stressing the fact our children are all individuals and learn at different stages or paces. Hence that is why Common Core is so bad for them since Common Core calls for ALL to achieve the same point at the same time. The federal governments push to get our children Pre-K under the arm of the government by providing the funds to pay for their pre-school care is not only unlawful but very dangerous for them to be teaching our children anything. Do your own research and discover the well laid out plans for education and our children in this country.

        I never said Steiner was speaking to students and if you go here you will see what I wrote in total content –
        “Thus, we wish to begin our preparation by first reflecting upon how we connect with the spiritual powers in whose service and in whose name each one of us must work”. –Rudolf Steiner addressing Waldorf teachers”

        By 1922 Steiner had established what he called the Christian Community, with its own liturgy and rituals for Anthroposophists. Both the Anthroposophical Society and the Christian Community still exist, though they are separate entities.And they still follow and teach Anthroposophy today and they have their own world wide association of which all teachers are expect to join.

        According to Steiner, the second stage of growth is characterized by imagination and fantasy. Children learn best from ages 7 to 14 by acceptance and emulation of authority. The children have a single teacher during this period and the school becomes a “family” with the teacher as the authoritative “parent”. This is a very dangerous process of teaching – where do you as the true parent fit in?

        You are certainly free to educate your children where you see fit, but no planned visit to any school is going to tell you what or how anything is being taught. I know parents who had their children in Waldorf schools and pulled them because they felt they were being turned into minor, mindless hippies. Waldorf schools do teach on the basis of everything is from a spiritual, nature form which fits right in with the United Nation One World Religion. Additionally, I don’t know if your child is attending a Waldorf Charter school or private one but if it is a Charter school they also must be being educated under the Common Core Standards since ALL charter schools receive fund from their local school district and those funds belong to the taxpayers.

        And if they are teaching any form of spirituality that is a form of religion and if they won’t let them teach or talk about Christianity they certainly should not be allowed to address Steiner’s form of spirituality.

      • My so was one of these children. He was constantly behind with reading and though we tried not to worry it was hard. We just kept encouraging and rewarding him. We told him we knew he was ok and not to worry it would come. In summer he went from infant to junior and it just clicked for him. He flew through the last few reading levels in the first few weeks, cleared easy free reader in the next week and is now at the top of his class (and way ahead of the child who used to tease him that he was not as good as him! )
        We are all unique and children especially so. They need to be able to learn in a way that suits them not just conform to a teaching style.

      • I love your story as it represents what so many of us have been saying. Our children are NOT common, but each of them are unique in their own right and need to be allowed to grow and learn as they are able – not by a timeframe of “one size fits all”. Diane

    • Who cares about what? Many parents care but not enough and Home School is the sanwer as long as the parents stay away from HSLAD! Charter schools and vouchers are certainly not the answer – do your research or don’t you care?

      • Whoa! I guess you have to decide what is more important to you – your children receiving a good education based on the truth or being indoctrinated into little robots. I hear from parents all the time these days that there isn’t enough time in a day to do these things. Sorry – I am a mother of 5 and raised my children married to a Navy man who was gone all the time. I worked 40 hours a week and they all were in scouts, played ball and no I didn’t home school because when they were growing up we still had a good education system in this country. We no longer do so unless you are willing to commit 18 years of your life to each of your children I suggest you either not have any or let them become robots. Having children is like a job and a marriage – work. You have to decide how much effort you are willing to put into it. This is the very reason I recommend starting a Home School group of parents and you help each other. Many are doing it! Diane

  4. “Two major studies confirmed the value of play vs. teaching reading skills to young children. Both compared children who learned to read at 5 with those who learned at 7 and spent their early years in play-based activities. Those who read at 5 had no advantage. Those who learned to read later had better comprehension by age 11, because their early play experiences improved their language development.”

    Do you have citations for these studies?

    • You can read about the study I guess if you want to read the actual study you got to email them, as I was unable to find it.
      I still think you need not read studies at all. For example, here in Denmark children don’t learn to read, no counting, no nothing until compulsory education starts, which is at 6-7 years old in primary school. Until then, all kids do in pre-school and kindergarten is play, explore, discover. A lot of Western European countries have this base of education, Finland, Germany, Sweden, Norway, etc. All these countries always score high in the PISA tests along with other ones. Finland being remarkably and usually in the top.
      There are studies that show that playing games and knowing how good a child is physically when performing different actions what determines if they will be good readers. Some are prone to read early and even on their own, but obviously they are all different and since all of them catch up and keep up the same level of reading when they are in primary school, there is no need at all to hurry such thing.

      • I do agree with you and it bothers me a great deal that we are pushing our children so hard at such a young age – not for their good, but for politicians to look like they came up with something brilliant. FYI – in 2013 Finland got knocked down to #17 in the PISA – it would seem other countries are learning how to teach the children to the test rather than just teach them. diane

  5. Educational standards need to be set by teachers and perhaps by child psychologists as well. That would go a long way in improving our children’s education. But politicians, votes, butt-kissing to demographics, money, etc. screw EVERYTHING up. And that’s just the good aspect. What if we were to really ponder all of this and it’s just a bunch of wackos trying to groom/brainwash our kids into something awful later on? Loss of independent or deep thought is just one thing they’ll lose.

    Wake up America!

    • Standards today are being put in place by non-educators to use our children as human capital in their public-private partnerships to make more money. If you want to get rich today start a business that is about education. Most states have no oversight on teaching curriculum and projects a teacher uses from the internet. Make sure your children’s teachers are not a Bill Ayers follower. Push for strong regulations and oversight on the textbooks and curriculum offered. Stanardized tests treat our children as the CCS do – as common and all the same. Take away the means to get rich off of the backs of our children and hold these monsters accountable.

      • Dianemarie,
        I saw you twico saying “stay away from HSLDA”. May I ask what you find dangerous or wrong about HSLDA ?
        Thanks !

      • Rebecca, I fully support Home Schooling but independent of HSLDA – I suggest you read my article <a href="I suggest you read my article which details in length Michael Farris and how he relates that parental rights come from the legal/law side rather than being unalienable from God. He has made a considerable amount of money making the Home School parents of America believe he is their savior. I only ask you do some research on the man as I and many others have. He is not what he seems. As a supposed constitutional attorney his interpretation of the constitution is rather far left and not in relation to the founders intent.

    • You are welcome! Network! Challenge your friends and family to understand what is happening! Call your legislators out to their faces – fire them at the ballot box! Blog – write what is happening in your area – create a web site like mine which is cheap but gets the info out. Feel free to contact me at

  6. So what can I do? I am a parent whose first child should be entering kindergarten this fall, and this trend of testing, no playing, computers in the classroom, etc just worries me. I want my children to like school, to enjoy it – not dread or fear it. I want learning to be fun and developmentally appropriate. I want to be a part of positive change in our education system, but I am not sure how.

    • Until we can get our schools back to what they used to be – education, you need to get into a Home School Coalition and stay away from HSLAD (the legal defense for Home School parents). Here again a political agenda telling parents their rights as a parent at given by law rather than God. If there isn’t a HS coalition in your area form one – those kids are much smarter, have more time for interaction with their family and friends and the things they like to do. Good Luck! And Charter schools and vouchers are not the answer!

  7. We had a focus on reading in kindergarten in NYC schools… 55 years ago… Back when they were excellent. What’s new about this?

    • They weren’t teaching them communism nor indoctrinated our children to be a “dumbed down” society 55 years ago! The clear sign should be all the money being funded into Pre-K – they what our children from cradle to grave so they are followers with no minds of their own. They are not really supposed to learn – how many high schoolers’ have you seen in the last 5 years who cannot even make change unless the cash register tells them what it should be. Most of the college students have to take remedial reading and math. That is not education – it is indoctrination. 55 years ago kids in school knew the name of their President – not today!

      • “Teaching communism”? We learned New Deal values, which I’m sure you think are the same. And most of is went to pre-school as well; though it was not state-run, it was run by the only people who thought children were actually important to educate instead of train, the liberals.

        As for making change, it is as important as a manual skill today as driving a buggy is. The world has changed around you, and therefore, so has what it takes to be functional. Making change is not an essential skill.

      • To be functional and addddvance is fine but to form it after something that HAS been tested in several states in the past and FAILED miserably, who do you think was affected by that failure other than the children. I object to my children being using as “Human Capital” in public-private partnerships for fill the coffers of politicians and busness men and woman who know absolutely nothing about how to educate a child of which are NOT common, but mature and learn all differently. If you are willing to “settle” you are hurting your child as much as the others.

        If you did your research into Pavlov and Skinner and then the education Hitler, Lenin and Castro put on their children there is no different. You need to take your blinders off and do your research.

  8. This is so true with my son’s Kindergarten class. I taught Kindergarten 11 years ago and it wasn’t like this. My son rarely has recess in his 4 hour class, and half the time it’s taken away because he was too chatty during centers or carpet time. We told the teacher to run him around at recess as “punishment” instead of taking his recess away because he needed that outlet so he didn’t continue to disrupt. The teacher laughed at us. She’s been teaching 20 years :/

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  10. Common core is NOT to improved education but to start the indoctrination of our children at the earliest age. The goal is to develop an ideology of support for the Socialist. It is not for the benefit of our children and their future but for the benefit of the Socialist State. Looking deeper in to the Common Core curriculum, there are discrepancies in history, social studies, etc that manipulate the true historical facts.

    • The actions that have been taken since the early 1030’s with instructions from the Carnegie Foundation have all followed the Communist Manifesto and have NEVER been for the good of our children and it has always been non-educators behind it – psychologists, psychiatrists!

    • There are no common core standards for social studies or history–only English language arts and math. Perhaps you’re referring to your state’s social studies standards?

      • The Social Studies are part of the ELA and wait until your children are hit with the lies in the Science Standards along with those distorted regarding History.

      • Social Studies and History is within the ELA at this time. Unfortunately the “powers to be” are using Literature to push age “inappropriate” reading, distorting our History and the Science is filled with Agenda 21 and worship of GAIA. Parents need to be monitoring EVERYTHING their children are being taught.

  11. Could you please share your source for the quote “standardized tests are invalid for children under 8″? Thank you!

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  13. I started homeschooling for this very reason, to give my child a true year of Kindergarten that I had envisioned for him, one of play and discovery, no testing, no measuring stick. It was the best decision for him and we’ve never looked back. I wish more parents would consider homeschooling.

  14. I appreciated your main point but am not sure why you’d publicly bad talk the Home School Legal Defense Assoc as they are a group defending the rights of educating parents.

  15. I was horrified when I found out what they’re doing to kids in Kindergarten these days when I started tutoring a little girl in Kindergarten 2 months ago. Her mother also believes it is unreasonable what they expect kids in Kindergarten to do. She keeps saying she never had to do any of that stuff when she was in Kindergarten.

    One time the little girl said to me, “I’m a failure,” because she knows it’s impossible for her to do what her teacher expect of her. That’s what they’re teaching normal kids in Kindergarten now: that they’re stupid. And they don’t even care.

    When I’m tutoring her, I just ignore what the school expects her to do, since it’s crazy. I’m just teaching her to identify numbers and count higher and higher and to sound out simple words, like 5-year-olds should be doing! And she loves working with me.

    I told her mother that I believe she is right where a normal 5-year-old should be, even though the school’s standards say otherwise. She liked hearing that.

    Even though I refuse to teach her what the school says she should be learning to do, her teacher said in a parent-teacher conference last week that she is improving!
    At least she feels like she really can learn now, and she’s not a failure after all. And that is helping her to do better in school.

    • Your story is repeated so many times and unfortunately, it is the truth especially for the higher learners. Wait until you get to what is expected of a K child from the National Sexuality Standards. Legal pedophilia as in legal murder through abortions.

      • I love your article, and agree with it completely. Can you please expand on this comment regarding legal pedophilia and abortions/murder? This is not something I will allow my Kindergartener to hear and need to know what is coming. Thank you.

      • Thank you for the kind words. We have just recently learned that the National Sexuality Education Standards guidelines are inter-woven throughout the ELA and Math curriculums from Pre-K through 12. When you see the things these different parents are posting this is where it is coming from. I personally have a real problem with the literature classroom teachers are downloading from the internet to use in their classrooms with any over-site.

      • There are no standards of this sort. It there are please give the standard number to which you are referring. You are officially lying. I and extremely versed in 9-12 math standards and absolutely none of them have any mention of sexuality. That is absurd. Please don’t lead your blind followers with lies. Legal pedophilia?!? Yes there are also standards that preach the devil and masturbation. Don’t forget about beastiality. You are insane.

  16. Politicians DON’T want our children to learn, or especially to think. They need a generation of circus animaks, trained to perform as instructed, no questions asked. ThT is how you control a population. Keep them hungry, poor and uneducated. Politicians are doing all three simultaneously while making us fight among ourselves for left over scraps. If our children’s education is being hampered by politicians, then that is where the answer is….we need to get them the hell out. We need to put in politicians with the best ideas for our society, not ones that have the most ads on TV or are the best looking. This requires critical thinking and effort on our parts – a valuable lesson that our children could benefit from seeing.

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  19. What specific CCSS math standard do you think is inappropriate? I am very familiar with the CCSS a for HS math and somewhat familiar with the lower levels. The SMPs have great value with promoting independent thought and the rest of the standards are quite similar to previous standards. They are just math. You sound more political motivated by your statements. I am not familiar with the ELA standards but I disagree with you assessment of CCSS a for math. Please respond with the specific standard you find inappropriate.

    • Do you honestly call Math that the children do not need to have correct answers too ,just get one the right way is the way to teach anyone anything? The Geometry within the CCS of which almost none of the children or teachers understand was used in Russia over 50 years ago and their professors could not figure it out. Why would you want your child to do something that takes 20 minutes to solve the new way and 5 the old? Have you not researched and read and heard what the 2 top Math scientists in America say about this Math? Dr. James Milgram and Ze’ev Wurman!

  20. If all children grow at different rates then some children, especially those who have been given many advantages at an early age as a result of caring and involved parents are ready for reading and an academically challenging Kindergarten environment. To simply say that at age such and such children are NOT ready for reading or whatever is to contradict the premise that all children need to be provided tasks commensurate with their abilities and needs.
    This article leaves one confused and really smells of an anti conservative approach that is fueled by liberal and disgruntled parents who take exception to anything that holds their children accountable in any way at all!!

    • One thing I am NOT is liberal. You have missed a good portion of the article which is showing with Common Core they EXPECT all children to be ready at the same time and learn at the same pace. It is not going to happen as physically, emotionally and mentally they all mature at faster rates whether they have 24 parents or their parents work. There are just certain things they are not ready for at 4, 5, 6, and 7 years of age. The very idea of putting them on computers all day before their spine is even fully developed shows what these so called experts “know nothing about”. We are surrounded by money men and women who are not educators who believe they can get rich off of the Common Core especially since our children to them are nothing more than “human capital” – their words not ours! The amount of advantages given to a child has nothing to do with the rate his body grows or matures.

    • Which standard do you disagree with? It seems that you dont actually know the standards. Maybe you disagree with some teachers’ implementation of the standards but if you read the standards you will see that they make sense. I dont know any standard that states the correct answer is not necessary. I could be mistaken so please identify the specific standard that allows this. As a math teacher, I do offer partial credit if a student shows some understanding of a problem but gives an incorrect answer. I also dont give full credit if a student doesn’t show their work. Of course, those have nothing to do with CCSS and were the grading policies of my teachers when I was young. I do think that money is poorly spent when it comes to education but to bash these standards seems silly to me. Every person that complains about the CCSS talks about implementation not the actual standards. Teachers and districts are left to interpret the standards as they see fit. Our kids have been doing poorly in schools and I have felt that the math standards need to be updated. I know that before the CCSS people were complaining that a change needed to happen. Here is a change. Yes there is money involved and some textbook companies will make money. They would have made money if the standards didn’t change. As I read the standards and I have read them a lot (specifically the High School CCSS) they are trying to be more cohesive and create critical thinkers and problem solvers. They do not seem to be a tool to control the mindless. If you want to complain about something, look to the parents. Ask parents how much time they volunteer at their child’s school? How often do they talk about what was learned each day with their student? How willing are they to seek tutors for a struggling student? Which is more important a new car with rims or their child’s success? Do the children treat their teachers with respect? How often do they say thank you to their teachers? Is education a priority in the house or is sports? Are you as proud if your student gets an A as you are if they score the winning touchdown?

      I think I made my point. Thank you for the discussion.

      • I am one of those tutors that parents seek to help with their struggling students. I spend a lot of time and effort trying to undo the terrible emotional damage those standards (yes the standards, not the implementation) are inflicting on little children. I work with kids from several different school districts. And guess what: they’re all doing the same thing. Are you suggesting that it could be just a pure coincidence that their implementations are identical since they have nothing to do with the standards? It’s the standards themselves, not just the implementation, that are defective and causing damage to children.
        Before Common Core, it was enough for children in Kindergarten to be able to write numbers and be able to count objects, and maybe be introduced to some addition. The biggest accomplishment toward reading was being able to recite the alphabet, write letters, and maybe read a few words. Nothing more than that is ever necessary. Even for kids who are capable of more, there’s no reason to force them to have to do any more than that. If they want to do more, that’s great! But there is no reason for them to be forced to do it or else. There’s no advantage whatsoever to it in the long run. The most important things for them to be doing at that age are playing and singing and listening to stories.
        The standards demand more academic accomplishments than any children in Kindergarten, or first grade or second grade, should ever be forced to do. Forcing little children to meet those standards is futile for children who are capable of doing it, and severely damaging to the children who aren’t.

  21. I dont claim to know the ELA standards and wouldn’t want to give an opinion of them. The math standards for kinder are well within what my kinder student will be able to do by the end of the year, counting, understanding greater and less and some basic addition. The addition standard even includes using ones fingers to help. It does state addition up to 19 in terms of decomposition but breaking apart the tens and ones is essentially single digit understanding. You say “no reason for them to be forced to do it or else”. Or else what? they won’t be held back, and the teacher should be able to give a fair grade based on the students ability. It’s just a goal for teacher to have. It’s ok to have standards that are tough for some to reach. Many current studies show that when students make a mistake and struggle to find a solution then they are increasing synapses.

    But again, what standard do you think is bad? You seem upset at my response but didn’t answer the question.

    • “Or else what?” Are you serious? You really don’t know? Have you so completely forgotten what it was like when you were a little boy in school that you don’t remember what happens when you’re unable to do something required of you in school?
      Try to think back to when you were that little and you were just starting out in school and what it felt like. Then I think you’ll know “or else what!”

      • I guess you and I had very different Kinder experiences. I went in the 1977 but I dont recall ever any serious repercussions if I was unable to complete something. In elementary school I do recall having trouble with my penmanship. I was one of 5 kids that had to go to a special classroom to work with someone on writing. I was never made to feel inadequate about my troubles. It is a teacher’s job to instill confidence even if a student cannot complete a task. If you have a group of students that are all from different districts that dealing with emotional damage because they are having troubles, then yes it is a coincidence.

  22. I do agree that some of the standards at all levels are tough. But so were the original California Standards. Interestingly enough many critics of the CCSS complain that the standards are too weak.

    • and a note about myself: I am a teacher, a parent and not a corporate/ political shill. I am disappointed with the state of humanity today and think that corruption and greed are destroying this world. But I dont think the CCSS are designed to control people and make them into mindless drones. Many teachers are struggling because it is changing something that they have been doing for a while. It’s tough to revamp years worth of lesson plans so maybe they aren’t getting it right this first go. Maybe they are applying the interpretations that are given to them and not using their professional judgement to ensure that their students are getting what they need. It’s tough and following someone’s guidelines makes it easier.

  23. Pingback: Families First Blog Kindergarten is the New First Grade, But Children Still Need Kindergarten » Families First Blog

  24. Thank you, thank you, THANK you for writing this. Now, we just need it to go viral so people can be informed! As educators, we’ve known this for years and have pushed back, but no one is listening.

  25. Having read the article on the front page of the Courier not long ago, I am prompted to have school districts consider the following: If you were able to avoid the costs of construction and being in debt for the costs, and were able to provide for increased kindergarten enrollment, would you be interested in another option? This plan would also reduce class size. Consider the following.
    Divide the school day into two sessions for the kindergarten students. Have about half scheduled for 8am to noon. The other half of the students could be scheduled from 1pm till 5pm. School should not be a babysitting service. Also, youngsters this young need more play time to express their curiosity and imagination – to enjoy being a child. Curriculum presented effectively, can attain as much as a longer day. Figuring out the logistics for scheduling would be a challenge, as would possible bussing that may need to be figured out. This could also save the costs and funding related to providing lunches.
    Another type of scheduling is often referred to as a year round schedule, although this isn’t accurate. It is known as the 45-15 plan. This type of scheduling makes more efficient use of buildings, and eliminates the need for children to spend the first month or so, in review of what they were previously taught in the prior school year. This allows students to attain more towards their potential. If at some time you are interested into looking more into this, I would be glad to share what I have learned and studied. Interested persons can contact me at .

    • Neil, the half day sessions is the way Kindergarten used to be. There were 2 classes a day and the children learned a great deal and actually grew up to put men on the moon.

      The 45-15 plan is unhealthy and falls in line with Senator Lamar Alexander’s (TN) theory that our children should be in school from cradle through college. We currently have beginning across this country charter school boarding schools where the children stay 24 hours a day, 5 days a week with no parental attention to them at all. They go home on the weekends. This is the perfect solution for parents who really didn’t want children but thought it was the right thing to do. For the Federal government it is the perfect environment for indoctrination into the UN/UNESCO process of thinking under outcome-based education of which Common Core is.

      Our children were doing very well before the Federal government put there hands in the schools in ’65. They need to get out of the business of education and manipulation.If every state kept the money they send the Federal government rather than just taking the pennies they send back, we would also be able to have more money to spend on teachers salaries and there would no longer be any need for parents to have to buy school supplies.

      I see though that I am “preaching to the choir” and you must have your hands as full working for a decent education for the children in Oregon as I am here in Florida. Good Luck!

  26. I’m a kindergarten teacher & have been for 10 years now. I love my job and working with 5-6 year olds each day. Honestly I really like the math standards. I think they took out the right goals and now we spend more time on the basics. This is very important to set a good foundation. Most of my kids do very well (I’m in a Title 1 school too). In reading, the reading level expected is one level above where it always was. It is challenging for many kids because most are learning their letters and sounds for the first part of the year. I think it puts more pressure on preschools and parents as well. But I would say the majority of my kids are able to do the things we do each day.

    Even though I have to teach more academics, our day isn’t much different than it used to be. I still try to do fun projects and learn in fun ways. I incorporate songs and hands on learning. We do brain breaks often and we still have free center time at the end of the day. My kids love school and I still love to teach. A lot of people claim to know a lot about the common core and what we do each day, but sometimes it’s best to hear from a teacher who has experienced it every day. I do know there are some gaps between grade levels and that’s a big concern of course. I just hope they don’t decide to get rid of it completely after we’ve just gotten the hang of teaching it. That’s what we don’t need- another complete change in our standards. That doesn’t make our job any easier. Teachers work very hard and are doing the best we can with what we are given. Remember to say “Thanks” to your child’s teacher sometimes. Most of us love teaching & appreciate the respect and support. :)

    • I am happy you enjoy your job and I would feel extremely sad if you were doing it and did not. However, I have to disagree with you because I still feel the children at this young age are not all ready for the learning of the heavy mechanics while the psychological and emotional portions are still forming. The problem with the education in this country has never been that there isn’t enough money or time spent on education, but the curriculum that is offered and the intrusion of the Federal government in trying to make education a business for some and indoctrination for others. The children of this country did wonderful in the education department prior to 1965 when the Federal government got involved and it has been down hill ever since.

  27. A very good day everybody,

    I have come to realize that the way of raising children have changed across the world. I do not want to blame it on the standards nor the implementers of these standards or on teachers, but I would like to say that there is lack of collaboration or consultation from the foundation stage. These standards are designed by educators who have learned or studied child development, and they know that these standards are perfect. However, those who implement these standards or teach young children in most cases are not involved from the designing stage in order to give their best experiences. Educating a child at the age below 6 especially from 3 years to 5 years is like building the foundation of a house, a storeroom or a flat. A house foundation need gravel stones, sand, cement and water (That is like bringing together different expertise from all child specialists. Lecturers, consultants, practitioners, teachers, parents, theorists or theories of child development, etc,.. These are mixed well before they can be poured on build walls (child development). This scenario says that, Child specialist must come together from the beginning of formulating the standards, designing curricula, making policies and implementation strategies. They should agree on what to go in, at what level and why? These standards should also be a road map for practitioners not a must follow ruler that have to be followed to a T. Practitioners know that children are not the same and do not develop at the same pace but there are also general rules of development. As part of the foundation stage they know how to go about guiding every child and bringing the best out of these children. Of-course, without forgetting that there are the gifted and talented children who should be left to excel and do the reading and writing without being pressured. My final word is that; Educating a child at foundation stage is humble gesture. It is creating a human being who should be able to learn well in the primary school to secondary and tertiary level, hence need people who agree on issues that will mould them perfectly.

    • I do so agree with you and it is for the very statements you made, myself and many others are deeply concerned about our young children sitting at a computer all day long or being forced into a level of learning they individually are not yet prepared for. At some point they must be allowed to also be a child – to develop the emotional and psychological basis of who they are to become. The idea they should be in school 5 days a week maintained at a boarding type charter school to only be allowed with their parents on weekends is barbaric. Add into the mix the large amount of time now being spent on Sexual education is destroying this country and for what?

  28. Reblogged this on wer4solutions and commented:
    Whoops. I posted the name of my website incorrectly. It should read I apologize for the error.
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    NOVEMBER 12, 2014 AT 9:57 AM
    In addition to values I see and have experienced with the 45-15 scheduling, I agree that the half day sessions for kindergarten children is the way to go. Sadly, here in Oregon, the system is bending to an all day program and trying to figure out the possibility of developing pre-K. If they would go back to the half day scheduling for the better emotional/play values for these youngsters, they could double the use of the classrooms without added costs.

    I will go even further to suggest that half days for all students would be ideal. If this were done, the schools would avoid the need to expand facilities. This is assuming that the schools would develop personalized education that can result in getting better results than the schools are now “achieving”. I invite readers to read my Better Schools articles in one of my homemade websites at . This description is further developed there, along with other self-help materials. There are proven ways to do better than what the schools are presently doing now!

    • Not only do I strongly agree with you in regard to the education of all children, but the number of hours a mother or father spends home schooling would certainly support that. However, on the dark side the bus drivers, and bus maintenance people and teachers and secretaries – everyone who would have their hours cut would scream bloody murder to the unions. And it is partially to wholly the unions who have gotten our children to where they are today. Not only do they NOT care about the education of our children it is they who continue to push and support the communist curriculums. O love this video and I like to re-post it about every 6 months and have for about 6 years. I almost have it memorized!

      NEA General Counsel Bob Chanin Says Farewell – After 41 years as the nation’s top education lawyer, Chanin closes his last Representative Assembly as general counsel with a stirring address to more than 8,000 delegates.

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