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The Boston Globe interviewed early childhood education expert Nancy Carlsson-Paige about the changing nature of kindergarten. C-P told the writer Joanne Weiss that five-year-old children learn through play, not flash cards and drill. They are hard-wired to learn through play. The Common Core expects that children will learn to read in kindergarten, but C-P says that goal is developmentally inappropriate. An organization she helped found, “Defending the Early Years,” reviewed the research and could find no support for the Common Core claim that children in kindergarten should learn to read. There is time for that in first and second grades.
Weiss followed that interview by talking to State Commissioner Mitchell Chester in Massachusetts, who said that his concern for poor and minority students led him to believe that they should learn to read in kindergarten. It is a matter of civil rights. But reformers have become skilled at invoking “civil rights” for whatever they choose to do. If it is not right for children, it is not right for poor and minority children. Don’t you think?