Last May a book came out called Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending. The authors discuss how people work hard so they will be happy later in life. Some put themselves through great drudgery in jobs they can’t stand, commuting and working long hours. They also stay in awful jobs much longer than they need too. Later, it turns out, never comes. Instead, the authors suggest, we would all be better off by using our money to be happy now. I know it is easier said than done for those grateful to have jobs. I also don’t mean to sound cliché. But I think striving to find happiness every day is important especially for children.
What does finding happiness in the moment have to do with Common Core Standards, high-stakes testing and children? I see a parallel here with the “got to push students harder to go to college” theme. The focus of Common Core Standards and standards in general is every child must go to college. PARCC–The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers involves assessments starting in 3rd grade. I said 3rd grade!
Encouraging college, to those who are interested, especially in high school, to a certain point is fine. But pushing it so harshly is unnecessary and steals the present from students especially when they are young. Children should be allowed to be their age.
Students miss out on the here and now. There is little enjoyment in the journey. Schooling should be engaging for the sake of learning and not with the constant pressure to attend college, especially when students are so young. I have seen very young children sitting in classes with pennants from Ivy League schools, instead of storybook characters, stuck to their walls! Some parents and teachers seem proud of this! Do they realize how age-inappropriate this is?
Common Core’s whole focus is pushing children to college. Shouldn’t it be about learning today? Shouldn’t it be about giving children the chance to enjoy the here and now?
Ask yourself, with the school push to college, what is your student missing out on with their journey through life today? Will they later hate school because they missed out on the joys of childhood? Let’s let our children be children. It goes by much too fast already.