There’s been lots of discussion about the Common Core State Standards recently, and their impact on classroom activity and child outcomes. Common Core is a major policy initiative to reform K-12 classroom practices, raise expectations and implement a new generation of assessments (at least in grades 3 and up), so it has major implications for Kindergarten-3rd grade (and early childhood education) teachers, children, and parents. It must be examined critically and debated. As we know, even if the policy is sound, implementation matters.
A recurring concern is that the Common Core State Standards were developed from the top-down (setting standards for 12th graders first, and then working backwards to set expectations for the lower grades, failing to take sufficient account of research-based learning progressions for children from birth-age 5. A related issue: Some feel there was insufficient involvement of early childhood research experts in language, literacy, mathematics, and child development in the standards development process.
Over the next few weeks, we plan to have experts comment on the top concerns and issues we’ve heard about CCSS.
- Rigorous standards may lead to reduced play and rich activity in preschool and Kindergarten classrooms.
- Literacy instruction may become limited to a few texts and drill-and-kill teaching.
- The standards are complex and extensive, and there is little guidance for teachers to implement them in Kindergarten classrooms.
- Parents don’t understand the CCSS and are concerned about what they mean for their children.
- The Kindergarten standards for literacy are not appropriate for children that age.
- Assessment related to reaching standards will not be developmentally appropriate, and results may be misused.
- Alignment with K-12 standards will mean teaching methods, subjects, and assessments that are not developmentally appropriate will be pushed down to preschool levels.
- Math standards will be too challenging for young children.
We welcome your participation as well. Please comment and weigh in on the concerns and our experts’ responses.