Monday, August 05, 2013

The New Economic Caste System

Our betters want to create a caste system in this country is to start "tracking" young kids as early as pre-school or kindergarten by forcing inappropriate curriculum down their throats when they should be having fun being kids and exploring the world around them.

Nope, they've got to be tracked early and slotted early so that only the kids scoring in the 99th percentile on tests will be allowed to attend high school and elite universities with the children of our betters, none of whom will ever be educated with the "riffraff."

This is the neoliberal script writ large.

A disturbing shift is underway in early childhood classrooms around the country. Many classrooms, especially those that depend on public funds, look more and more like classrooms for older children where standards, testing, and accountability rule. Federal and state mandates are pushing academic skills and testing down to younger children, even preschoolers. These days, there is less and less emphasis on promoting child development, active, play-based learning, and hands-on exploration for our nation’s youngest learners.

At our nonprofit project, Defending the Early Years (DEY), we launched an online survey to find out what teachers think about how current education mandates are affecting their classrooms, their teaching, and children’s learning. Over the course of the 2012-2013 school year, 185 early childhood classroom teachers (Pre-K – 3rd Grade) from across 31 states voluntarily came to our website to document their experiences. Overwhelmingly, these teachers reported that recent policy changes have hindered -- not helped -- their young students. Although they don't represent a randomly selected group, these teachers are from a variety of early childhood settings including public and private schools, Head Start classrooms, and center-based preschools who took their own time to share their experiences and stories with DEY. A large majority of the teachers completing this survey say that playful learning is disappearing from their classrooms, and that developmentally inappropriate activities and assessments are now at the forefront of daily classroom life. Teachers in public schools expressed the most concern.

This is nothing more than a form of child abuse.

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