Bianca Tanis: New York’s New Standards Are Bad News for Young Children

By dianeravitch

Bianca Tanis is a teacher of special education in a K-2 classroom in the Hudson Valley of New York. She is also a member of the board of NYSAPE (New York State Allies for Parents and Educators), the statewide group that has led the Opt Out movement.

In this post, she excoriates New York’s new standards and says the New York State Education Department ignored the voices of early childhood educators. From the perspective of young children, she says, the standards are fundamentally flawed.

She writes, in part:

We should never have to fight for the right of children to play. Nor should we have to fight for them to spend more than 20 minutes at recess. Instruction should never come at the expense of the creative, spontaneous, and joyful exploration of 4- and 5-year olds. But, increasingly, it does. With the unveiling of New York State’s “Next Generation of English Language Arts and Mathematics Standards,” the struggle to maintain these experiences for young learners—already underway—will intensify.

When New York’s Education Department released the draft standards last September, Commissioner MaryEllen Elia claimed they represented substantive change. Yet most revisions consisted of minor tweaks to language and placement. There were very few shifts in content, and the Common Core anchor standards remained mostly intact. The latest iteration walks back any positive content changes, increasing the rigor of the prekindergarten through second-grade grade standards over and above the draft released in September, and moving some first-grade standards to kindergarten.

While many policymakers profess their commitment to play-based learning and meeting the needs of the whole child, their actions say otherwise. This problem is not unique to New York. But in a state with one of the largest parent uprisings against high-stakes reform and the arbitrary imposition of rigor on child-centered practice, Elia’s reaction is …read more

Source: Diane Ravitch Common Core