I don't know if you saw my rant on your post about your son starting Kindergarten, but I am beyond annoyed! I just want to get up in front of every kindergarten teacher in North America and tell them to wake up! We are doing our children no favours by pushing all of this crap on them. In fact, all research points to the exact opposite. Kindergarten needs to be a time where we work on our socio-emotional health, not academics. When we have those in place, the rest we can deal with.
Yes, I responded and I am in total agreement with you! I think that a lot is beyond the kindergarten teacher’s control. So much is dictated at the state and national level. Teachers have to implement every dictate, every curriculum decision made by people who are most of the time unqualified to make those decisions. I’ve worked on leadership teams for the last five years and there is, at least in our state, a toxic attitude towards teachers by the leadership, as if the failure of children to excel is entirely their fault. But teachers are usually the first ones to speak up and say, hey, Marzano is a crock of shit, or Common Core is unrealistic or you can’t make everything a Kagan structure. They get shut down time and again by the leaders and a very uninformed public. You and I and psychologists and pediatricians know what the research says but in American Schools, kids don’t matter and teachers even less.
The Common Core State Standards are a perfect example of one hand washing the other. Now, before I say anything, I am a HUGE advocate of national standards and the broader the better. Common Core is not horrible (beats the hell out of the Sunshine State Standards my a mile). But this link lists the participants of the Common Core States Standards Development Work Group. One out of 61 participants is a current teacher, the rest of the group is OVERREPRESENTED by companies who are responsible for writing standards-based assessments, including College Board and ACT.
So, you get to write the standards, the assessment that will test the standards, which drives the curriculum to teach those standards, which determines a school, and subsequently, a district’s grades and, more importantly, determines a child’s future. You have no one on that committee who has worked with ELL or ESE students, only one person who has taught in a classroom in the last 20 years and they are the ones telling us how to raise and educate children.
The reason that no one does anything about it is because the general public doesn’t want to think too hard about it. They’ve been sold a bill of goods that says if we look at “learning outcomes” and “learning gains,” and treat children as industrial commodities, our performance against other countries will improve. If we turn schools into corporations and run them on efficiency models, our children will improve. Their emotional development, their social engagement - that is not quantifiable so who cares? It’s not on the test!
Well guess what, after 20 years of NCLB and Race to the Top, we still look like shit on the last PISA administration, which was this year despite the fact that we spend more money per child than any other system in the world.
So yeah, given the outcomes, I agree with you completely. Let the kids play outside. Talk to them. Read to them. Get them the hell off the computer and electronic devices (before you say a word a word to me, I did my academic time, lol) and spend time doing things with them, have real conversations with them about the way things work. Because if you leave it only to the test makers, I can’t even tell you what kind of adults they’ll churn out.