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What Will Common Standards Mean for Kindergarten?

On Jan. 6, the BAM! Radio Network released an interesting podcast about Common Core Standards for kindergarten through third grade and their potential impact on early learning. The Alliance for Childhood's Edward Miller, Randi Weingarten, of the American Federation of Teachers, and New America Foundation's Lisa Guernsey discuss the standards and debate whether they are developmentally appropriate. Miller expresses concern that expecting all kindergartners to be able to count to 100 or read basic words may not be developmentally appropriate or predictive of later school success. He also raises the question of whether the standards would push schools to label young children as deficient when they simply aren't developmentally ready to accomplish such tasks. Weingarten calls that a misapplication of standards, and argues that appropriate use of standards would help address the gap in equity of exposure to language, literacy, and numeracy between affluent and less-wealthy children. Guernsey suggests the more relevant conversation might be how teachers can best implement standards in the classroom, since good classroom practice can address both the developmental and equity issues under debate.

The discussion doesn't venture too far into implications for pre-K and younger, but we've already seen that the increased academic pressure in kindergarten is having ripple effects down to pre-K programs. This is the first of a two-part series, so maybe we'll hear more soon.

The podcast is about 12 minutes long and you can access it through the BAM! website link above, or via iTunes here.

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