Thanks to the Alliance for Childhood, I had a chance to comment on the new academic standards for K-5. If you want to speak up, visit their website for a link to the online survey about the standards.
Here's what I wrote:
These standards are far too rigorous for young children, especially for children in K-3. I've seen far too many young boys struggling in Kindergarten, becoming frustrated with school, and getting labeled as troublesome, slow, or ADHD.
I find it incomprehensible that we have set up a system which causes young children to learn to hate school -- in kindergarten! Shouldn't we wait at least till middle school to make them hate school?
Can we put the "garden" back in kindergarten, and let our children play outside, learn to love books and stories, discover the joys of creativity, and learn how to interact with their peers and adults in a healthy, positive group setting?
The standards claim to be research-based, but in fact the evidence points out that pushing academics earlier and earlier doesn't help children in the long term. Their brains are not empty vessels that we can just fill up with whatever we think it's important to pour in whenever we want. They have a development process which can't be rushed -- at least not without harming other parts of the development process.
If we want to raise a generation of stressed out, maladjusted, hyper-competitive, emotionally fragile, obese, diabetic kids who can spit out memorized rules but have little creativity or imagination, then by all means adopt these standards.
If this is not the governors' vision of the future for our children, then please revisit the standards.