Why a page on Early Childhood Education on a Stop Common Core Website?
If you have done your research you already realize a couple important things:
- Common Core Standards are part of a package of education reform measures. That is why they are called the Common Cores State Standards Initiative. They are inextricably tied to assessment and data gathering.
- The Federal government has made it known that their goal is universal preschool. In a speech in Rhode Island in 2014 the President said, "Sometimes, someone, usually Mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. That’s not a choice we want Americans to make.” He didn't mis-speak. They want every parent working and contributing to the tax base. They intend to use a grant program to incentivize states to set up preschool programs in every district, just like they did with the Race To The Top grant program to get states to adopt Common Core.
- States were given money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to either establish or expand their State Longitudinal Databases. These databases contain information on individual students. Most states have a P20 Council to oversee the SLDS. The "P" in P20 stands for Pre-school because they want to track children from preschool through to the workforce (age 20.) Part of what they will track is students achievement on standardized tests that are aligned to a common set of standards (i.e. common core.) They need the common standards in order for the records to be comparable.
- Just as the Common Core standards are not evidence based nor backed by research, neither is the rationale for having every student attend pre-school. The list on the right, though not exhaustive, provides numerous studies which have shown that there is almost no long term benefit to placing children in a pre-school program.
The children who are placed in preschool programs will be exposed to traditional school work like worksheets, reading lessons and tests. All of this intense instructional time will displace time spent in free imaginative play which studies have shown is necessary for good cognitive development. This type of early classroom experience raises children's stress levels which has resulted in increased misbehavior and school assigned consequences. Connecticut schools suspended or expelled 901 kindergartners for aggressive behavior in 2002, twice as many as in 2000. One New Haven school official attributed the spike in violence among kindergarten children to the increasing emphasis on standardized testing and the elimination of time for recess, gym and other chances to play.
Common Core, data gathering and pre-school are all intertwined. Before your district asks you to vote for a tax increase to provide universal pre-school, demand that they show you the studies that prove it has long lasting gains. Better yet, ask them if they have done a liability study to ascertain the risk the district will face if they institute a preschool program that is later shown to adversely affect student health and development.