By Guest Author, Carol Seaver
One of the biggest so-called caveats of a school district’s informational packet for prospective families is offering a preschool program. Unsuspecting and uninformed parents may be impressed with this offering but shouldn’t be sucked into the “free baby-sitting” mentality. However, it needs a deeper look. The best place for young children is in the safety of their own family with nurturing parents who cherish and encourage them. Childhood is a time for children to develop and learn through exploring life without the constraints of a government curriculum with goals to master and results to be evaluated. Children develop at different rates, and when one-size-fits-all goals are used, they suffer. Actually, play is the “work” of early childhood.
School districts tout preschool programs and all-day kindergarten. Indeed they believe it is a feather in their caps, a “one-up” on districts that don’t offer it. But instruction should always be developmentally and age-appropriate, and early childhood experts say Common Core (CC) curriculum is not. Common Core states that children need to learn to read by the end of kindergarten. But reading instruction in kindergarten results in little gain and much loss. No research supports children being taught to read in kindergarten. There are no long-term benefits from it. When children are taught to read early they may be just ‘word-calling’, without the background information that only maturity can bring. Many children are not developmentally ready to read in kindergarten. When children are taught concepts they’re not ready to learn, it can create confusion, anxiety, and feelings of inadequacy. Any advantage children may receive from learning to read early is lost by second or third grade where they average out with those who didn’t learn to read in kindergarten. (Nancy Carlsson-Paige, PhD). CC takes the emphasis away from children learning and turns it to requirements that are externally imposed. It is especially harmful to young children.
High-stakes testing is one of the factors responsible for middle school suicides doubling. The suicide rate among 10-to 14-year-olds doubled between 2007 and 2014— the same period during which states increasingly adopted CC standards and new, more rigorous high-stakes tests. (Steven Singer, teacher, “Gadfly on the Wall Blog” 9/2/2017). Michigan began implementing CC in 2010. Yet the results are dismal with scores nation-wide falling year after year.
Common Core is not the best way to go. There is a huge groundswell against CC in many states, with several of them opting out. Texas and Oklahoma refused common core (2014), and they still received federal funding. There are many other states involved in the opt-out process.
Common Core consists of uniform American education standards created by special interest groups and federal bureaucrats that treat children as “mere human capital,” rather than unique, creative individuals. CC was developed by the National Governors Association, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Council of Chief State School Officers. There was no teacher, parent, or local school board input. National control is the plan with less and less parental involvement intended. (That’s why parents find it hard to help with math homework.) Federal bureaucrats hinted at withholding money for education if CC was not adopted by states.
Happily there is now a push to dismantle the Federal Department of Education and return control to state and local entities. And there is a bill languishing for over a year now in the Michigan legislature called “Repeal and Replace Common Core” HB. #4192. But that doesn’t fix education as the state also is pushing a leftist agenda, and concerned parents need to get together and attend school board meetings to make their concerns known. (Unfortunately behind-the scenes politics is having a field day with this issue with both sides in a grid-lock. Therefore the bill languishes.) If your representative or senator campaigned on being against CC, ask him/her what he/she is doing to defeat it. Parents, you should be aware of what your children bring home in their backpacks. Look at the lessons they’ve been taught and read all the notices sent home by the school. It’s your job to be alert and proactive in what your young children are exposed to in the schools with this CC curriculum. If you don’t feel good about something being taught to your children, it’s your right and responsibility to go to school and inquire. You have to be your children’s first and best advocates. They are counting on you to be there for them.
Carol graduated from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Arts and Wayne State University with a master’s degree– both in elementary education– with an emphasis on birth to eight years. She is a wife, mom, grandmother, and retired teacher. She has lived in St.Clair County for decades, but hails from Portage where she left part of her heart. As a Christian, she works for God and country, trying to educate the uninformed and set the captives free. She has a keen eye for what ails the culture and, when she realized the downward spiral we were on, was called to fight for her country in 2009, using political activism from a Christian worldview. She is grateful for this platform from which to speak.
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