Published in Language Magazine, May 2013.
Daniel Ward’s editorial (Preschool Promise, March 2013) is the only commentary I have read that is less than 100% enthusiastic about President Obama’s Preschool Initiative. Ward is concerned about the announced academic focus of preschool and the possibility that preschool will become “a part of the school production line.”
A close look at the details shows that Ward’s concern is well-justified. In order to be funded, states have to adhere to learning standards, which include a “rigorous” curriculum, and “effective evaluation,” in order to prepare students for the academic load of kindergarten (!!) (see “Fact Sheet President Obama’s Plan for Early Education for all Americans,” at www.whitehouse.gov).
Is the Preschool Initiative simply the Common Core extended to preschool? Race to the Top for Tots? There is no evidence showing that the “tough” academic standards and the increased testing of the Common Core for K-12 will help students, and there is no reason to impose it on three and four year olds.