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NCLB Outrages

State releases free pre-kindergarten ratings

NCLB infects childhood even before kids get to school.

Stephen Krashen letter sent to Palm Beach Post, May 17, 2007

Florida is now testing five year olds on letters and sounds, to see how well pre-kindergarten programs are preparing the children for kindergarten ("State releases free pre-kindergarten ratings," May 16). If scores aren't high enough, the pre-K program can fail. This will undoubtedly result in attempts to ensure that pre-K programs are more "rigorous" and that they get serious about drilling letters and sounds.

Whats next? Will Pre-K programs now want to screen three year olds to make sure they are ready for their pre-K curriculum? Will we soon see pre-K prep for two year olds?

FCAT and NCLB have turned schools in test-prep centers, and kindergarten has become a training camp for first grade. Now Florida wants to destroy what is left of childhood. For more information about Florida's testing program: https:vpk.fldoe.org

One of the tests they use is DIBELS.

State releases free pre-kindergarten ratings

This morning the state released the scores from its first round of testing children who attended Florida's free pre-kindergarten.

The numbers are the first glimpse into how well the program prepares children for kindergarten, though critics throughout the state and the country have warned the results will not be very telling because of the way the test was conducted and the sketchiness of testing a 5-year-old's knowledge.

More than 200 Palm Beach County schools offered the state's program and their scores appear to closely reflect the average scores around the state, said Warren Eldridge, executive director of Palm Beach County's Early Learning Coalition.

Florida voters demanded the state offer free pre-kindergarten in 2002, by approving a constitutional amendment. The 112,829 children who were tested attended the state's first year of pre-kindergarten in 2005-2006. They then were tested when they arrived in kindergarten last fall.

Two of the tests were brief, lasting less than five minutes total and quizzing the students on their letter recognition and knowledge of beginning sounds. The third test was more of an inventory of the child's understanding of basic literacy concepts.

The state traced more than 62,000 of the individual student scores back to the public and private pre-kindergartens they attended and calculated how many students at each pre-k were deemed ready for kindergarten.

State officials are expected to determine a cut off score, below which a school is deemed to have failed, next month. State law dictates no more than 15 percent of the state pre-k schools can fail.

— staff; comment by Stephen Krashen
Palm Beach Post


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