We are now in the dangerous era of FORCE & FLUNK when it comes to children and reading.
Here’s how it works.
A frenzy surrounding reading is caused by school reformers and the media, claiming children are not learning to read fast enough.
Kindergarten is the new first grade, automatically making preschool the new kindergarten. If we aren’t careful, obstetricians will show newborns an alphabet chart immediately after babies are born!
We’re told that reading is an emergency, and if it’s not addressed by reading programs produced by individuals, companies, and technology, children won’t learn to read—and they won’t be ready for the global economy.
Thus, there’s an unnatural forcing to make children read before they’re ready.
Instead of the joy and loveliness learning to read is about, reading is made into a chore–something that a child is forced to do, and what they learn to fear.
Yet there’s no indication that children have brains that have evolved to where they can learn to read earlier than before. There’s no proof that they can handle learning to read at an earlier age.
How must children feel about reading?
Let’s pretend we’re kindergartners.
- We miss recess. Reading is an emergency. No breaks allowed.
- We’re tested constantly. There’s nonsense syllables. They make no sense.
- We’re placed into remedial groups. We’re already behind. But we never got to learn in the first place!
- We don’t get art and music. It will take time out from reading instruction.
- There’s no time to socialize with interesting classmates. Little time out from reading.
- We really are confused. We have a problem learning letters. It isn’t our fault, is it?
- Or we already know how to read. We still get tested! We still do boring exercises. We just want to get to the books.
- We see the worried looks on our teacher’s and parents’ faces when there’s talk about reading.
- We are told we will get a reward if we read a book. Why? Isn’t the book fun?
- We know reading is serious, and we are afraid we will fail.
- Most of us, if left alone, would like to get to the books because we love looking at pictures and reading stories!
- We also like acting out stories, telling our own stories, and writing about what we love, even if we don’t write well yet.
- There are certain books we can read in class, and other books that are for children who read better.
This was a taste of what might run through the minds of kindergartners when it comes to reading.
By third grade, if students aren’t already fearful of reading, they will be when they hear what’s coming.
If they aren’t reading well enough, they will have to remain in third grade–so they will do more reading remediation! They will watch as their classmates leave them behind.
At this point, how much do you think children like to read?
The Florida plague, the undeniably ugly and stupid practice of flunking children if they are not reading well by third grade, is now a reform across the country.
States now make third graders prove their reading capability before they are permitted to crossover to 4th grade.
[Note: Michigan repealed their retention law since this post was first written.]
Research shows that flunking is like losing a parent.
Yet no legislators or educational administrators ask themselves, “Could we be wrong? Could we be ruining a child’s life?”
Why do adults FLUNK children?
- They don’t know better. They think it is a solution to help children.
- They haven’t done due diligence because they are lazy, uninformed, not very bright, or don’t care.
- They have an underlying, devious, even sadistic motive to want to punish children.
- Down the road, this will lead to school privatization and they will make a nice profit on the failed reforms they have designed on the backs of children.
Psychologist Shane Jimerson and many researchers have thoroughly researched retention and found that it is a failed thing to do.
We know of no legitimate research to indicate that forcing kindergartners to read early and failing them later, when they aren’t proficient at third grade, will be good for learning in the long run.
It will destroy their love for learning and even life itself.
But in the madcap dance to privatize, end the teaching profession, and destroy brick and mortar schools, corporate reformers and legislators, are destroying the joy of reading and the love of learning in one fell swoop.
FORCE & FLUNK—America’s new low in the treatment of children and how they are taught to read. Let’s hope one of these days those who FORCE & FLUNK will see the light.
Past Posts About Reading and Retention
Setting Children Up to Hate Reading February 2, 2014
For You Michigan! You Are Wrong about Retention! October 17, 2015