Common Core assessments and young children? They don’t mix.
Such is the message from Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, and Nancy Carlsson-Paige, a professor emerita of early childhood education at Lesley University, in a column they co-authored this week, entitled “Early Learning: This is Not a Test.” Their post appeared on the AFT blog as well as Valerie Strauss’ Washington Post blog.
Carlsson-Paige, a vocal opponent of Common Core for K-3 learners, and Weingarten, a Common Core supporter, lament the way the assessment process is being implemented for young children. They write:
It defies both common sense and the evidence to backmap what students need to know for college and career to kindergarten and preschool. The standardized assessments being administered to first-graders and even kindergartners in New York and elsewhere have put this issue in sharp relief. What is being required of young children is unreasonable, inappropriate and developmentally unsound.
Carlsson-Paige and Weingarten want early childhood experts (largely ignored in the standards-crafting process) to take a close look at Common Core. In their post, they suggest we should:
Address questions about the appropriateness and the implementation of the Common Core standards for young learners by convening a task force of early childhood and early elementary educators to review the standards and recommend developmentally appropriate, culturally responsive guidelines for supporting young children’s optimal learning.
Implement a moratorium on stakes attached to the Common Core assessments.
Reject the use of standardized tests in grades K-2, as a petition now circulating in New York urges.
Devote resources to disseminating information more broadly about best practices in assessment of young children.
Recognize and provide the appropriate preparation and ongoing supports for the educators of our youngest children.
As I’ve noted earlier, more than 500 early childhood education professionals (including Carlsson-Paige) signed a petition in 2010 opposing the standards. Isn’t it time to listen to what the experts– those who work closely with young children– are saying?