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Kindergartners asked to ‘check out’ college scholarships and ‘select jobs’

Ohanian Comment: With Common Core now in disrepute, 'College and Career Ready' becomes the new mantra. And it's uglier even than Common Core. This treatment of kindergartners--presented by the Arizona Department of Education-- is so inappropriate, so stupid, so downright whacko, that it's hard to accept it as real. Take a look at graphic. The Arizona College and Career Checklist provides a roadmap of graphics like this for K-12.

All I can say is that I've never seen a better argument for Home Schooling. I have spent my life working for and defending public school, but I certainly would never allow a child I cared about to be viewed this way.

I'm glad to see that veteran educator Laura H. Chapman tags the current "personalized learning"
mantra as part of the problem.

by Valerie Strauss

For some time now, we've been watching kindergarten classrooms turn from places where kids learn by playing into places devoted to academics where there is sometimes no time for recess, naps, snacks or much fun. The Common Core includes standards for kindergartners, which you can see here, that many child development experts say are inappropriate for young children. And now we are seeing the spread of "checklists" that young children are supposed to complete that apparently ensure that they are "college- and career-ready."

One such list, on the Arizona Department of Education Web site, asks kindergartners to "check out scholarships at http://www.finaid.org/scholarships/age13.phtml" for college, start a college savings account and "read picture books about careers and select the jobs I like." There's more (see graphic), including monitoring reading standardized test scores. (What would a college and career road map for kindergartners be without a focus on standardized test scores?) Young kids, of course, like to imagine what they might be and do when they become adults, but should they really be checking out scholarship lists and obsessing over test scores?

Laura H. Chapman, a veteran educator who is a consultant to numerous arts organizations, including the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Assessment of Educational Progress in Art, wrote a comment on Diane Ravitch's blog about the checklists. Here (with permission from Ravitch to publish) is what she said about the pressure schools are putting on young children to be âcollege-and-career-ready.â

Arizona has a checklist for this purpose. It is offered up as graphic and "balloon questions" that should be answered as if proof that the kindergartner is on track for college AND a career. (Meanwhile Congress wants to reframe NCLB as "Every Child Ready for College OR Career)."

Arizona's State Department of Education offers a graphic that also functions as a checklist for college and career readiness. There in no picture of a train on a track, just comic-like bubbles filled with text, organized around a car. The car is facing left (a visual convention that has long been used to imply "go west)"

You can see this graphic and some grade by grade versions of the college/career questions here

This kind of checklist is migrating to other states via the promoters of "personalized learning" and on-line programs where dashboard versions update information and post "recommendations" for specific colleges or for career certificates that match up with student interests, family budgets, and so on. Some of these programs are designed to by-pass the need for face-to-face guidance from middle and high school guidance counselors.

— Valerie Strauss
Washington Post Answer Sheet





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