Sunday, May 20, 2012

Education Policy Facepalm

Over the past decade the trend has been to push more and more educational content into kindergarten. The historic emphasis of kindergarten was to socialize children to be away from home, behave in class and play with their peers, tasks that became less important as increasing numbers of children transitioned from full-time childcare to often part-time kindergarten. In that sense, it's not unreasonable to transform kindergarten into something more relevant to today's kids.

But...

As today's kindergarten starts to look more and more like yesterday's first grade, we create a context in which many kids are not yet at a stage of cognitive development at which they can master the material presented to them in kindergarten. So what's the solution?
Everard is among a growing number of parents, educators and some early-childhood experts urging Michigan lawmakers to change the date by which kids can enter kindergarten. Michigan currently requires kids be 5 by Dec. 1 to enroll, one of just a few states with such a late cutoff date.

It's an almost annual debate in Lansing, but although previous efforts have failed, the quest this year is gaining steam, largely because of the growing recognition that the kindergarten curriculum has become much more demanding -- and because of fears that Michigan kids won't be able to compete with children from other states.
So the "solution" to having age-inappropriate material in kindergarten is to exclude kids from kindergarten until they reach the age at which they historically would have entered first grade? Next, let's rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic!

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