The Alliance for Childhood doesn’t like the new Common Core Standards proposed by National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.
From Alliance’s Newsroom:
Citing “Grave Concerns,” Experts Condemn Proposed Core Standards for Young Children
“The proposed standards conflict with compelling new research in cognitive science, neuroscience, child development, and early childhood education about how young children learn, what they need to learn, and how best to teach them in kindergarten and the early grades,” the statement says. It calls for the withdrawal of the proposed K-3 standards and the creation of a new consortium of teachers, scholars, and scientists to design more appropriate guidelines for early care and education.
The group argues that the proposed standards will greatly increase the amount of didactic instruction and standardized testing in literacy and math in the early grades, and will “crowd out” other important areas of learning. Young children “need to learn about families and communities, to take on challenges, and to develop social, emotional, problem-solving, self-regulation, and perspective-taking skills,” the statement says.
There is little evidence that the approach taken by the core standards for young children leads to later success in school, the group argues. Existing state standards have led to a heavy emphasis on skills-based instruction with little or no time devoted to child-initiated learning, according to recent research.
The Alliance suggests “parents, teachers, and others to register their concerns about the standards at the official site, www.corestandards.org.” They have issued:
An urgent call to action: Most Americans are unaware of the threat to healthy early childhood education posed by the K-12 “core standards” announced on March 10 by the NGA and CCSSO. Public comment on these national standards will close on April 2, an appallingly small window. The time to act is now.
What’s wrong with the standards: Existing state standards for kindergarten and the early grades have already ramped up rote learning, didactic instruction, and standardized testing and nearly driven out hands-on active learning and play. The new standards will intensify these inappropriate and unhealthy practices.
A few comments from the signers:
“The common core standards will perpetuate current ineffective methods rather than leading to much-needed reform in early education,” says Joan Almon, a former kindergarten teacher and Executive Director of the Alliance for Childhood. “Young children learn best through hands-on approaches that combine teacher-led activities with child-initiated learning and play.”
“I support this statement whole-heartedly,” says Professor Katz, of the University of Illinois. “Research indicates that while early formal instruction of preschool and kindergarten children may appear to show good test results at first, in the long term, in follow-up studies, such children have had no advantage. On the contrary, especially in the case of boys, subjection to early formal instruction increases their tendency to distance themselves from the goals of schools, and to drop out of it, either mentally or physically.”
“The people who wrote these standards do not appear to have any background in child development or early childhood education,” says Professor Emerita Stephanie Feeney of the University of Hawaii, another signer. “As written, these standards could have a very detrimental effect on young children. I strongly urge that they be rewritten to reflect what is known about young children’s development.”
These standards matter to homeschoolers because “48 states, 2 territories and the District of Columbia committed to developing a common core of state standards.” When the inevitable calls for more regulation of homeschooling come, it will be demanded that homeschoolers be held accountable to these standards too.
The Alliance’s Joint Statement of Early Childhood Health and Education Professionals can be read here (pdf). You can also read statements from 35 signers here (pdf).