"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Kindergarten Is Now Grade One?

This is a sequel to "Kindergarten is not daycare". Jill Walston of the American Institutes for Research (AIR) has prepared an excellent set of slides showing data regarding how kindergarten education in the United States has changed over one decade. The changes are dramatic and these are captured in the following figures (copied without permission from Walston presentation).

The first figure shows how much kindergarten teachers' perception has changed. A greater majority now expects kindergarten children to learn how to read.

Kindergarten in the US is now mostly full day programs.

With this increase in hours, however, subjects like music and art have not gained additional slots in a kindergarten child's schedule. Worse, times when children are offered art and music have decreased.

Consequently, preschool is now viewed differently by teachers.

The focus on math and reading is disconcerting. It clearly shows the emphasis on these subjects because these are covered by high stakes standardized exams. It is no longer emphasizing what is developmentally appropriate. It is all about those test scores which now decide which schools will remain open or be shutdown. It is all about those scores that help determine who among the teachers and supervisors will receive additional paychecks.

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