Here’s something for early childhood educators and parents of young children to ponder.
Gesell Institute Statement on the Common Core Standards Initiative
March 18, 2010
The core standards being proposed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers are off the mark for our youngest learners. We at Gesell Institute call for a new set of standards for Kindergarten through Grade 3 that adhere to solid principles of child development based on what research says about how and what young children learn during the early years, birth to age eight. The proposed standards for Kindergarten through grade 3 are inappropriate and unrealistic. Policy must be set based on hard data and not on unrealistic goals surrounding test scores.
If the achievement gap is to be closed, child development must be respected and scientific research surrounding how children learn must be taken into account. Research clearly shows that early readers do not have an advantage over later readers at the end of third grade, and attempts at closing the achievement gap should not be measured in Kindergarten based on inappropriate standards.
The work of Gesell Institute has long been focused on research and best practice in child development and education – our legacy is based on the ground-breaking work of Dr. Arnold Gesell, a pioneer in the field of child development who observed and documented stages of development with normative data reflecting what children typically do at each age and stage. Currently, our national study collecting developmental information on over 1400 children across the country is in its final stages of data collection. This data, to be released in Fall 2010, is expected to further support what we know about how children develop and what they know at various ages, as well as the importance of focusing on appropriate methods for teaching young children.
We urge the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to respect the individual developmental differences of children and revise the K-3 standards based on research and the advice of experts in the field of early childhood. Having endorsed The Alliance for Childhood Joint Statement of Early Childhood Health and Education Professionals on the Common Core Standards Initiative, we support the call to withdraw the early childhood standards and create a consortium of experts “to develop comprehensive guidelines for effective early care and teaching that recognize the right of every child to a healthy start in life and a developmentally appropriate education.”
I completely agree that standards need to be aligned with the developmental stages of childhood. The many inadequacies of our educational system will not be solved by requiring children to tackle work that is inappropriate for them – in fact doing so creates stress in most young children and turns them off from schooling.
I suggest birth standards…why not? It doesn’t seem to matter if things are developmentally inappropriate or not. Why not get these people at the NGA and the CCSSO to implement standards at birth. I think they should personally exit the womb speaking and recognizing letter symbols. Maybe if they don’t Pearson could develop a training program for mothers to be to connect them to monitors throughout the pregnancy to improve their scores. Then when that doesn’t work, we can label the mothers failures and the babies delayed and put them into remediation programs in the crib. No more cute mobiles with animal figures, lets only allow them to see letters and listen to /a/ , /a/, /a/ “animal”. Isn’t this what they are doing with Early Childhood Education standards? Create them and the children will measure up? I am teaching the CC Curriculum this year to 3 year old students with developmental disabilities…special needs children who are not yet potty trained, but by the grace of God they will know the CCSS. 😉
There is a serious issue for common core combined with higher class sizes in grades K and 1. Teachers do not have time to interact with children enough to protect them in their role of mandatory reporters. (for reporting cases of abuse) When administrators are asking parents to give money to make up budget shortfalls, they are not going to listen to a Kindergarten teacher who is asking for a social worker to come in her room to have conversations with a child who has too many bruises. I was called in for possible “disciplinary action” when dealing with exactly this issue. Do you think I reported the suspicious bruises that child came in with after that?
Well, bottom line (Reality Seeker) is that your duty is to the child, not to the school’s financial arrangement with parents. You could file a protest against your disciplinary action but you also have a responsibility to report abuse when you see it. Perhaps go to the school guidance counselor next time (hopefully there won’t be a next time!
Teddi, what you write is funny-sad. I’ve thought along those lines but not as specifically as you. Reality is rapidly becoming science-fiction.
Kathreen, I really agree with you about all of these pressures creating stress…stressed teachers, stressed children and even stressed administrators.