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I went to full-day kindergarten because my parents needed me in school all day while they worked. There are certainly benefits to full-day kindergarten – socialization, speech development, etc. But I don’t remember kindergarten being rigorous and I didn’t learn to read until first grade.

Now kids may have to go to kindergarten all day long because of state standards. Here’s why Webster might make the move, according to the Democrat and Chronicle:

Among those requirements: counting to 100, supplying rhyming words and recognizing and naming two- and three-dimensional shapes. A failure to meet Common Core standards could jeopardize district funding.

“The standards for kindergarten are significantly more rigorous than the old ones were,” (Assistant Superintendent Linda) Sykut said. “And I don’t think they’re unreasonable … but it would be very challenging to accomplish them in a 21/2-hour day.”

Here’s another way kindergarten is becoming more high-stakes. In at least one district in New York – Syracuse – kindergartners will be asked to rate their teachers. The rating will be included in the teachers’ evaluations. The Post-Standard reports:

As part of a new, district-wide evaluation system, students will be surveyed about their teachers and their perceptions will account for 6 percent of a teacher’s overall rating.


Students will take surveys designed for their grade level. Surveys could contain statements such as: “My teacher helps me with my work” and “My teacher answers questions when I raise my hand,” she said.

Links of the Day:

– Monroe County Exectuive Maggie Brooks says she didn’t raise taxes in her proposed 2013 budget. But suburban residents will now be assessed a fee for snow removal.

– A Buffalo TV news director talks openly about being hospitalized for job-related depression.

– The mother of a Buffalo man ejected from a Bills game is grateful he was found alive.

– A new state law limits when you are asked to give your Social Security number when you purchase goods and services.

– Should children be allowed to handle guns, even if they’re unloaded? The issue came up during custody hearings involving probation officers in the Albany area.

– Xerox is under fire for its speed camera programs in Maryland. An audit found inaccurate tickets and more.

– Hilarity ensues when NYU students hit “reply all” to university messages.

10 Responses to High-Stakes Kindergarten

  1. The notion of testing cognitive skills in kindergarten is ridiculous! When will educators realize that “early” does not mean
    more learning over the long run? Research has shown that the only thing kindergarten need are speech development, socialization, physical activity and creativity, with lots of story telling. Going even further with this concept, there are noted psychologists and neurologists who suggest to holding off in reading until seven years old.
    Finland does not teach reading until seven years old, and they lead the world in reading scores in the teenage years. Half the world holds off on reading. Some experts link the baby teeth falling out as a bridge to higher cognitive skills. If anyone is interested in reading more of what I am saying, you can google Waldorf education. Start with speech development .. hold off on other concepts .. otherwise we are going to have more learning disabilities, and other consequences of stressed children, with no life long gains whatsoever.

  2. Kindergarteners are now expected to write from day one. It isn’t even mandated that they attend in NYS except for Rochester proper which had the state pass a law last year. There is extensive research on child development in the younger years of life and being able to read and write is not one of them at ages four and five. You have to be able to read first before you can understand what you are writing. Otherwise it is a meaningless activity. Also children’s motor skills vary, people are not the same. Still on the books but widely ignored is a regulation that full day kindergarteners are allowed a nap. Schools are experiencing an increase of young children K-2 tantruming, leaving the classroom and the school building in response to the Common Core standards. It is an unresearched, unreasonable mandate forced on States for “winning” money from Race to the Top federal education program or a waiver from NCLB. The Common Core Standards financed by Bill and Melinda Gates among other corporations were developed beginning with an “end product”, a theoretical college ready student at 18, and creates its standards from 12th grade on down. That is why the younger kids are just getting attention now. Anything not covered in upper grades gets pushed down to the younger years. Not sure how gullible parents are to the school system and politics but it seems they buy it if the words data and tests are used. I don’t think Republicans could have gotten away with this junk. Democratic politicians have since promoting standardized education in the 90s. They also supported NCLB during the Bush administration. Time to stop but it will have to be voters and parents who do it.

  3. Sorry. The sentence should read “since the 90s.” And the speech and language development mention by Susan as well as other info is correct. Don’t forget some students are learning English at school for the first time. They shouldn’t be expected to do the same activities as other kids in language with the same results. They need something different. Disabled children also shouldn’t be burdened with unreasonable expectations. And the common core isn’t appropriate for anyone. Would we really want everyone to be the same? Is this a democratic country or a factory? Why is a man who decided college wasn’t for him deciding college readiness?

  4. This isn’t about children. This isn’t about learning. This is simply a jobs issue. This is a push being led by the teachers union. As the previous posters have indicated, there are as many, if not more, studies and arguments against these standards for our 5 yr old children than there are for it. I have a 6 yr old grandson who did attend a full day kindergarten. He was ready, he did well and he enjoyed it. He has a 4 yr old brother who is definitely not ready. This is the reality of the human being. A one-size does not fit all. My preference is to let children enjoy their childhood. I wish the pushers of these measures really had the children’s best interests as their focus instead of more jobs and ultimately more power for their unions. Just my thoughts.

  5. OJA. The teacher’s union? No this is Race to the Top and it is a measure by your president. Presidents Clinton and Bush were involved with introducing standardized education first and NCLB or No Child Left Behind later. Race to the Top with its Common Core standards is even worse. Corporations such as Pearson, College Board, and others found a way to make millions from privatizing education and destroying public education through pushing through federal measures that requiring testing and purchase of materials through them to prepare students. The penalties for failing are closed schools and teachers losing their jobs. Corporations set up charter schools using public money, it’s a cash cow. I think that parents will often feel they will wait on kindergarten until 6 years old. That is wrong if kindergarten was being used as it was meant to, children learning through play in a garden.

  6. Kindergarten students taking a survey to rate their teachers? You just can’t make this stuff up.

  7. Lynn e…you make a good point. Somebody is pushing this through to make money. It is NOT for the kids. I’m sure it is not only education corporations. The article states that Webster needs to hire approx. 15 more teachers. How do education corporations profit from this?

  8. I just read Carlsson’s piece in the Boston Globe. and I agree with a couple exceptions. The notion that disadvantaged kids have less resources and worse teachers is erroneous. As an RCSD retiree I can tell you that the teaching staff is second to none, and my students had all the electronics, paper and pencils they needed. There is an enormous amount of costs per pupil in inner cities. The resources are there but no amount of money within our present paradigms, solves the problems of developmental lags in speech and other developmental markers from birth to kindergarten, and the truancy that emerges from poverty.

    I believe there is a strong and necessary component to rote learning and direct instruction, as far too many children don’t know their multiplication tables and a single fact of geography or history.. but that said.. the notion that cognitive learning should start in kindergarten is ridiculous.

  9. The effects of poverty are very strong. The idea that everyone is the same is too. The idea that kids meet this arbitrary marker or they are behind is detrimental to education. I agree that the quality of teaching staff is erroneous and often not true. Poverty affects people throughout their lives and even if they have things in school they don’t have them at home. Internet, cable, ability to take vacations, and lead a life without worrying about money creates terrible stress. A former student of mine at U of R received a full scholarship but getting a computer fixed, buying text books, studying abroad, clothes, sometimes food and other things her peers take for granted are daily trials. They are not just extras but nececities that college officials don’t even think about. Very lonely and sometimes terrifying.

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