I was once asked by a charter school operator to assist them in finding some arts teachers. They showed me their instructional schedule for their all-day kindergarten and first grade classes, and I was floored, absolutely floored by the amount of time spent on drilling and test prep for reading and math.
I mean, this is kindergarten. A five year old being drilled for hours on end. My first thought was that I would NEVER allow my daughter to attend that school, and I was pretty damn sure that the charter operator’s kids went to private schools.
Well, here comes a new report from the Alliance for Childhood: Crisis in Kindergarten: Why Children Need to Play in School.
The report looks at kindergarten classes in New York City and Los Angeles and finds that students spend 2-3 hours per day in literacy and math instruction and testing;
of that 20-30 minutes per day is spent on standardized test preparation. Less
than 30 minutes per day and often zero time is spent on play or choice time (which is where the arts would take place).
produce higher scores in first and second grade, but at what cost? Long-term
studies suggest that the early gains fade away by fourth grade and that by age
10 children in play-based kindergartens excel over others in reading, math,
social and emotional learning, creativity, oral expression, industriousness, and
imagination. Developmentally inappropriate practices are putting young
children’s health and academic progress at risk. It is time for a
Is this really new, some of you might ask? Well, the issue has been rapidly gaining attention, but the question of long-term effects of such drill and kill at early primary grades hasn’t been tied to together before in such a nice and neat bow.
Now, what was it again they were chanting at the Republican National Convention? Drill Baby Drill?