Moi posted the announcement from Dr. Bette M. Hyde that Washington will be submitting an application for Race to the Top funds. See, Announcement: Washington prepares application for Race to the Top It is interesting to look at the details of the grant process. From the Executive Summary at page 17 are the details about assessments for the preschool set:
(C)(2) Supporting effective uses of Comprehensive Assessment Systems.
The extent to which the State has a High-Quality Plan to support the effective implementation of developmentally appropriate Comprehensive Assessment Systems by–
(a) Working with Early Learning and Development Programs to select assessment instruments and approaches that are appropriate for the target populations and purposes;
(b) Working with Early Learning and Development Programs to strengthen Early Childhood Educators’ understanding of the purposes and uses of each type of assessment included in the Comprehensive Assessment Systems;
(c) Articulating an approach for aligning and integrating assessments and sharing assessment results, as appropriate, in order to avoid duplication of assessments and to coordinate services for Children with High Needs who are served by multiple Early Learning and Development Programs; and
(d) Training Early Childhood Educators to appropriately administer assessments and interpret and use assessment data in order to inform and improve instruction, programs, and services….
Hopefully, this doesn’t mean high stakes testing of preschoolers.
Joy Resmovits is reporting in the Huffington Post article, Education Department Releases Final Race To The Guidelines, Stressing Ratings and Assessment
To win money from the federal government’s early childhood Race to the Top contest, states are encouraged to implement “kindergarten entry assessments,” according to new guidelines released Tuesday by the Education Department and Health and Human Services. But U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan emphasized that the stakes won’t be as high as they are for older students.
“We will never ask 3-year-olds to take bubble tests,” Duncan said on a call Tuesday with reporters. “That would just be ludicrous.”
Assessments are one component of the $500 million Race to the Top — Early Learning Challenge. States have until Oct. 19 to submit applications, which are then scored by outside reviewers — though Duncan noted he has the authority to override the reviewers’ decisions if he deems it necessary. States will vie for grants ranging from $50 to $100 million.
The $500 million competition is part of a larger $700 million package announced by the Obama administration to continue RTTT, which began as part of the stimulus package. States that lost previous rounds of RTTT, which focused on implementing Duncan’s favored K-12 reforms, will be able to compete for the remaining $200 million.
“The overarching goal of the challenge is to make sure many, many more children enter kindergarten ready to succeed,” Duncan said.
The Education Department worked with Health and Human Services to develop the guidelines. “We can’t outcompete the rest of the world unless we can out educate the rest of the world … unless our children get a healthy start in life,” HHS chief Kathleen Sebelius said.
The assessment component of earlier draft guidelines drew criticism from early childhood experts. “Assessment is the third rail of early childhood because children develop at very different rates, young children especially,” said Yasmina Vinci, executive director of National Head Start Association, an early childhood advocacy group, according to Education Week. “You have to be very careful as to what that would look like and for what purposes. It should not be for the purposes of classifying the children. It has to be observational.”
Moi said in Tutoring in Kindergarten: Why Not Let Kids Just Be Kids?
In Two Studies About the Value of Play in Preschool moi said:
In the rush to produce baby Einsteins and child prodigies, perhaps we are missing the creativity that play activities by preschoolers produces.
Sue Crystal provides ten questions for the school and questions parents should ask themselves.
The objective of these questions is to ensure your child has a good experience, learns to like learning and is safe. At this point in history as this country struggles with debt that is measured in the trillions, we still need to focus on certain priorities. As a country, we should be ensuring that every child has access to a quality and safe preschool.
Most children will be able to navigate preschool without difficulty and continue on with their education.
Thrive by Five which has many resources to help parents with young children is highlighting a preschool program for children with challenges. Wellspring Family Services helps many children with challenges.
Alison Gopnik has an excellent article in Slate which reports about the results of two new studies, Why Preschool Shouldn’t Be Like School
Kate Zernike has an excellent in the New York Times about how some children are literally being pushed out of childhood. In Fast-Tracking to Kindergarten? Zernike writes:
Eze is 3. She is neither problem child nor prodigy. And her mother, Gina Goldman, who watches through a glass window from the waiting room, says drilling numbers and letters into the head of a 3-year-old defies all the warmth and coziness of her parenting philosophy — as well as the ethos of Eze’s progressive preschool. But she began bringing Eze and her older brother to these tutoring sessions nearly a year ago on the advice of a friend, and has since become the kind of believer who is fueling a rapid expansion of Junior Kumon preschool enrichment programs like this one, a block from the toddler-swollen playgrounds of Battery Park City.
As competition in education has spread down, the tutoring industry has followed.
Research suggests that there is little benefit from this kind of tutoring; that young children learn just as much about math, if not more, fitting mixing bowls together on the kitchen floor. But programs like Kumon are gaining from, and generating, parents’ anxiety about what kind of preparation their children will need — and whether parents themselves have what it takes to provide it. For those whose idea of enrichment is introducing “Buenas Noches, Luna” into their toddlers’ bedtime reading ritual, this is yet another reminder that no matter how much you do, there is always some other program that — who knows? — just might mean a difference.
“The best you can say is that they’re useless,” said Alison Gopnik, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, who compared the escalation of supplemental education with Irish elk competing to see which had the biggest antlers. “The result is that they go around tottering, unable to walk, under the enormous weight of these antlers they’ve developed,” she said. “I think it’s true of American parents from high school all the way down to preschool….”
Most parents no matter their class or ethnicity want to give their children a good start in life. A key building block to a solid education foundation is preschool. There are many different considerations in selecting a preschool. The overall considerations should center on the quality of the preschool and whether it meets the needs of the child. For some, those concerns take a back seat to whether the preschool is the “right” place rather than the appropriate place. “Right” meaning where the parents and child can mingle with the “right” sort or type. The focus of my comment is to urge parents to look at what will in the long term make a happy, healthy, well adjusted child who is secure enough to take on the challenges of life. Nothing in life is guaranteed, even to the most well connected. How one copes with survival in a world that often presents challenges, which upend what people thought they knew, depends on internal fortitude and a sense of security.
July, 2011: Dr Wilda says this about that ©
Week of August 4, 2011: Dr Wilda says this about that ©
Dr. Wilda’s back to school roundup
Dr. Wilda may be contacted at email@example.com
This article also has a link on the drwilda Facebook page and on Twitter
Dr. Wilda is being followed by uFollow:
To receive updates from the Seattle Public Education Examiner, just click “subscribe” at the top of the story and enter your email address, which will not be shared.
For a sampling of Dr. Wilda’s blog posts go to:
Dr. Wilda Says This About That ©