No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, high-stakes testing, Common Core, and other bad school reform measures are coming together with Covid-19 to destroy the futures of America’s youngest learners!
They include the same equity and disparity talk used to ramp up the above harmful policies. Those changes to schools, all that rigor talk, did not work before, and they’ll not work to fix pandemic losses.
What child will welcome learning, look forward to going to school, some for the first time, when they hear about how far behind they’ve already fallen?
When parents read dire reports, they will feel compelled to push their kindergartners and early learners harder. They’ll worry about the next test. Children will see learning as something to fear, not a joyful experience.
Last November, we saw Dallas Students Suffer ‘Horrifying’ Learning Loss During Pandemic, New Data Suggests. Such hyperbole is harmful.
Dallas doesn’t stop with the November report. Now we learn Dallas Trustees Lowered the District’s Academic Goals Because of the Pandemic. DISD Kindergarteners Are Still Off-Track, begging the question of what track were kindergartners on before the pandemic?
Trustees should continue to revisit their goals. Maybe they’re wrong. Perhaps they initially wrote the wrong developmentally inappropriate goals!
Why are young children put on any track? How about giving them the breathing room to be children without making them carry the burden of failure before they’ve had a chance to start school.
Instead, Dallas trustees already lowered the school district’s goals, the goals they created in the first place, because of the pandemic. But woe is us; the children are even further behind than that!
At the start of the school year, DISD aimed for 55% of kindergarten students to score at or above grade level by the end of the year on reading assessments. Trustees dropped that goal to 40% in November.
This kind of talk is running rampant not just in Texas but around the country. We see this in groups that identify children as having reading problems before they’re four!
This is exactly why educators and many parents don’t want the pressure of high-stakes testing placed on children. Teachers know how to assess their students. They understand what their students need to learn.
The reality is that it’s bogus to say one cares about how children are doing emotionally, then highlight how far behind they’ve fallen using such charged language.
Children may have to get over the trauma of losing loved ones. They are still dealing with the strangeness of this pandemic. They must wear masks, repeatedly wash their hands, they lost playgrounds for a while, and they have not been able to socialize with their peers or see grandma.
How must a young child feel when they fear a virus is lurking around every corner? Also, they repeatedly hear that they have fallen behind in school horrifyingly so.
Adults may not have total control of Covid-19, but they can change the instructional narrative.
The school doesn’t need to be made to look like a fearful place! It should be the opposite. Children should be welcomed to school when it’s safe, positively by the adults in their lives, emphasizing the wonderful things they can and will learn.
Children do not need to be condemned to a life of fabricated failure.
What else do Texans and all the other pusher states have to gain?
When teachers don’t meet the trustees’ goals, they will ultimately be blamed for not raising the scores.
Kindergartners are branded as failures before they’ve had a chance.
In the end, Texans will use this learning loss business to shutter schools, fire teachers, and open more online charters controlled by big businesses.
And kindergartners will still hate school. That’s what’s really horrifying.