Many parents fighting Common Core have pointed out how age and developmentally inappropriate Common Core is in the elementary grades. Six years later, nothing has changed.
Parents protecting their kids by opposing the standards were openly ridiculed and, in many cases, intimidated into silence.
As a parent of a child who entered Kindergarten the same year North Carolina implemented Common Core, I can tell you that the level emphasis that was placed on writing in full sentences just three months into school was utterly ridiculous. So was the level of reading comprehension being demanded.
I spoke out. I was unpopular for that I’m sure, however I knew I was my child’s only line of defense. If I hadn’t been armed with the facts on Common Core, I likely would have rolled over and allowed my son to be thrown into the void of ‘additional resources’ that the school felt he needed because he wasn’t conforming to the ridiculous reading comprehension piece.
Teachers have pointed it out too. Even those who have been gung-ho over the standards. Case in point, Jessica Smock.
Smock, who has been apparently been a supporter of Common Core, has written a letter which was published by the Washington Post. Her letter is about not wanting her son to read in Kindergarten.
Why would she say that?
I have a doctorate in educational development and policy, and in graduate school, as the Common Core standards were being developed, I was a passionate champion of higher, common standards for our nation’s students. Yet I took it for granted that the standards would be determined by experts in each age range to be developmentally appropriate.
Unfortunately, the Common Core State Standards for the younger grades were not written by early childhood professionals or scholars. Of the 135 people on the committees that wrote and reviewed the Common Core Standards, not one of them was an early childhood teacher or early child development expert.
Kindergarten today ignores a basic fact of young children’s development that is well-known by early childhood educators: normal development in young children occurs at very different rates and in very different ways.
For example, the average age that a baby starts to walk is 12 months, but some kids start walking at eight or nine months and others (like my toddler daughter) at 15, or even 16, months. Some may crawl before they walk; some — like my daughter — skip crawling altogether. My daughter is now 19 months old and walks just as proficiently as the other toddlers in her class who learned to walk several months before she did.
Similarly, the average age that a child learns to be an independent reader is about six and a half. Some learn to read at four, and others at seven, and both extremes are developmentally normal. In fourth grade, kids who learned to read at four are typically not any better at reading than those who started at seven. Countries like Finland and Sweden, which outpace the United States in international testing, do not even start formal academic schooling until age seven.
We need to respect children’s individual developmental timelines. The idea that “earlier is better” for reading instruction is simply not supported by research evidence. Children’s long-term achievement and self-identities as readers and students can be damaged when they are introduced to reading and literacy too early.
Go read the whole thing.