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Guess What, Mom? Common Core Can Be Good for Your Kindergartener – Erika Sanzi

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Here’s a smart and well observed piece on learning to read:

I am always torn when I read pieces like that of Sarah Blaine, who shared her views on the Common Core State Standards for kindergartners. The gist of her piece, published on Valerie Strauss’s Answer Sheet blog, is that based on her personal experience with her two daughters, she sees the standards as “developmentally inappropriate” for kindergartners.

As a mother myself, I can empathize. I want to be able to say, “Yes, me too. You’re not alone.” And I’m confident that she isn’t alone. I am just not one of the mothers able to agree or stand with her on this.

I am a mother of three boys. One attended kindergarten prior to the rollout of Common Core, another went very early on in the rollout, and the youngest is now in kindergarten in a school that is 100 percent Common Core-aligned. Like Ms. Blaine, I look at all of this from a place of privilege.

Ms. Blaine’s disagreement with the kindergarten standards seems to be much more about her personal choices with regards to when she decided to have her children start school as well as a local cutoff date that appears to allow 4-year-olds to begin kindergarten. She takes particular issue with what she sees as an expectation that “kids develop reading skills at the same pace.”

The evidence in Common Core-aligned classrooms, however, doesn’t bear this out. Schools use a variety of scales to measure a child’s reading levels; they are often called “steps” and each one is identified by a number or a letter. Classrooms and school libraries are loaded with independent reading books that indicate the level of reader for whom they are written and since there are over 20 levels, it’s hard to imagine that anyone expects all kids to be at the same place at the same time.

see the rest at Guess What, Mom? Common Core Can Be Good for Your Kindergartener.


8 Comments

  1. mboucher75 says:

    You should also share this post from Publishing the Pendulum:

    It’s brilliant and more accurate!

    http://pushingthependulum.com/2015/02/05/guess-what-common-core-kindergarten-is-not-the-savior-of-the-poor/

    If the K CCSS standards were field-tested in a real 2.5 hour kindergarten class before adoption in 2010 these professional conversations would be well received. However the fact is they are here and living in our classrooms. The expectation that “students advancing through the grades are expected to meet each year’s grade-specific standards and retain or further develop skills and understanding in proceeding grades” is a cognitively developmentally inappropriate expectation for kindergartners!

    Mr. Duncan please use your position on the Board Of Education to mandate Kindergarten as a grade in the great state of NH, then move forward with demanding this program be a full day! Until you can level the playing field for all Kindergartners in our state, the educational gap will widen and our precious young children will be the ones that fall behind. If this is not your domain, please get behind those who can make this happen. Professional differences need to be put aside and action needs to be taken -Kindergarten needs to be mandatory for all children coupled with a full day experience where PLAY and Academics can coexist!
    Thank You- Maryann Boucher

    • Bill Duncan says:

      Maryann, I have offered and hereby offer again, to give you a platform for discussing the standards in terms of your own classroom experience. That would be much more valuable than links like this.

      However, I do see that the pushingthependulum folks are now citing the letter from the 150 Waldorf folks as having 300 signatures. Maybe you could provide a link to that new 300 person letter.

      On the question of getting enough play and time for social development, I think that’s a matter of good teaching, as many teachers on this site and all over the country agree. I think you do too.

      As to full day kindergarten, I think we may see a breakthrough this year. Here are Sens. Stiles and Boutin talking about it.

      That is important and exciting legislation. I will be testifying in favor when the time comes. I hope to see you there.

  2. mboucher75 says:

    Thanks for sharing the encouraging news about full day kindergarten! Please share the date and time ….I would love to take a professional day and testify along side you.
    Thank you for validating my opinion in regards to K CCSS and offering to hear my personal experiences. However if you remain current on the opposing view then you know where I stand. I am excited to see the momenteum of continued conversations from Presidential Candidates, Governors, Superintends, Principals, Educators, Parents and even students as they speak out against CCSS and its unhelpful cohert SBAC/PARCC.
    I’m sure our paths will cross again….until then stay safe in this winter wonderland! 🙂

  3. I am the author of pushing the pendulum and I speak from classroom experience. I taught for 12 years in more settings than most teachers. I have been in inner city classrooms in Baltimore, NYC and Newark, NJ. I have taught in a suburb in Monmouth County NJ. I have taught in traditional public school and charter. I also am a mom of 4 kids that I have homeschooled for preschool and part of elementary school.

    Calling this person out for citing links as support, however instead you should commend her for being informed and researching the issue instead of taking what politicians and administrators say at face value. Maybe you should spend some time reading my blog for I speak from experience and education. I do link to other content to support my thoughts and opinions. Sanzi’s article quotes an individual and not a reliable source and makes claims based on speculation about her son’s peers.

    I encourage you to comment on any of my blog posts and counter my arguments with sound logical evidence. I have yet to hear any solid arguments in favor of these reforms. I am all ears.

    • Bill Duncan says:

      Paige, as you see, I have a web site full of commentary that makes my arguments as clearly as I know how. As to my comment to Maryann, she is entirely able to hold up her end of the conversation. She too is a teacher with valuable classroom experience. That’s what I want to hear about whenever she is ready.

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