Posted in Common Core, Early Childhood

CCSS: Where Were the Child Development Experts?

I knew that most the writers of the Common Core Standards (CCSS) weren’t educators. Then I read A tough critique of Common Core on early childhood education and learned that Edward Miller and Nancy Carlsson-Paige…

…reviewed the makeup of the committees that wrote and reviewed the Common Core Standards. In all, there were 135 people on those panels. Not a single one of them was a K-3 classroom teacher or early childhood professional.

In the Joint Statement of Early Childhood Health and Education Professionals on the Common Core Standards Initiative we’re told that…

  • …standards will lead to long hours of instruction in literacy and math. Young children learn best in active, hands-on ways and in the context of meaningful real-life experiences…the current proposal goes well beyond most existing state standards in requiring, for example, that every kindergartner be able to write “all upper- and lowercase letters” and “read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
  • They will lead to inappropriate standardized testing. Current state standards for young children have led to the heavy use of standardized tests in kindergarten and the lower grades, despite their unreliability for assessing children under age eight. The proposed core standards will intensify inappropriate testing…
  • Didactic instruction and testing will crowd out other important areas of learning. Young children’s learning must go beyond literacy and math. They need to learn about families and communities, to take on challenges, and to develop social, emotional, problem-solving, self- regulation, and perspective-taking skills. Overuse of didactic instruction and testing cuts off children’s initiative, curiosity, and imagination, limiting their later engagement in school and the workplace, not to mention responsible citizenship. And it interferes with the growth of healthy bodies and essential sensory and motor skills—all best developed through playful and active hands-on learning. 
  • There is little evidence that such standards for young children lead to later success. While an introduction to books in early childhood is vital, research on the links between the intensive teaching of discrete reading skills in kindergarten and later success is inconclusive at best. Many of the countries with top-performing high-school students do not begin formal schooling until age six or seven. We must test these ideas more thoroughly before establishing nationwide policies and practices.

LISTENING TO PIAGET

In the following video, child psychologist, Dr. Megan Koschnick, discusses specifically how the CCSS are developmentally inappropriate. One example…the CCSS frequently call for abstract thinking. We know from Piaget that children in the pre-operational stage of development (under 7 years old) are generally incapable of abstract thinking. This will lead to the failure of most 5 and 6 year olds to meet the standards — causing frustration for children who are not developmentally ready for abstract thinking as well as frustration for their teachers who can’t change human brain development.

Common Core and Developmentally Appropriate Instruction

“Why do we care if [Common Core standards] are age inappropriate? Well, you can answer that with one word – stress…Instead of thinking about what’s developmentally appropriate for kindergarteners, [those who wrote the standards] are thinking [college] is where we want this kindergartener to end up, so let’s back track down to kindergarten and have kindergarteners work on these skills from an early age…This can cause major stress for the child because they are not prepared for this level of education.”

All this, according to Stephen Krashen, for only a few billion dollars…

The cost of the new standards

The estimate of $1.19 billion to implement the Common Core Standards is a tiny percentage of the real cost (“Common Core Standards To Change State’s Education Landscape,” Sept. 21).

The new tests must be administered online. Many districts lack enough up-to-date or even working computers, and even if computers are in place, there will be continual upgrades and replacements as well as major changes as new technology is developed.

Taxpayers will have to pay for all of them. Because no evidence has been provided showing that online testing will benefit students in any way, this adventure is a boondoggle.

Whether or not the tests help students, computer and testing companies will make a lot of money taking no risk. If student achievement declines, we will be told that we need even higher-tech tests, and we will be presented with National Test 2.0.

The authors of the standards should have included early childhood and child development experts before they accepted the task of writing early childhood standards. This is another example of people who aren’t trained thinking that “anyone” can make decisions about schools, students and educational policy. Just like No Child Left Behind, the Common Core Standards are setting students up to fail.

See also:
The disturbing shift underway in early childhood classrooms
More on Early Childhood Education…

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All who envision a more just, progressive and fair society cannot ignore the battle for our nation’s educational future. Principals fighting for better schools, teachers fighting for better classrooms, students fighting for greater opportunities, parents fighting for a future worthy of their child’s promise: their fight is our fight. We must all join in.

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Stop the Testing Insanity!
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Retired after 35 years in public education.

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