Today on Diane Ravitch’s blog, DEY’s Senior Adviser Nancy Carlsson-Paige weighs in on the Common Core as it relates to preschool.
It’s hard to put your finger on the pulse of what is really going on in early childhood right now, and for good reason. There are big differences among states, school systems, and individual programs. But there are also trends that are affecting the early childhood field as a whole, and they are most strongly felt in programs that are State and Federally funded.
There is an increasing pushdown of academic skills into Kindergartens and Pre-K’s. The Alliance for Childhood first identified the disappearance of play in Kindergartens a few years ago. Wrongly, the erosion of play-based learning in Kindergartens has now become the norm and is currently filtering into Pre-K’s around the country. This academic focus for young kids is driven by RTTT priorities and the Common Core Standards. The Common Core extends to kindergarten and requires children to learn specific facts and skills in literacy and numeracy at specified ages. For RTTT early childhood money, states have to agree to “align with the Common Core”. These mandates are not based on the knowledge base of the early childhood field, on what is known about how young children learn best. Those who wrote them are out of touch with young children and what quality programs should offer.