Common core standards require that kindergartners acquire a range of basic reading skills, including letter and word recognition and phonics. Supporters of the standards say they are necessary to create a language-rich environment for all children, something often missing in low-income homes. But critics say most children are not developmentally ready to read in kindergarten, and point to research that shows kids benefit more from play-based programs. We’ll look at the complex issue of teaching young readers.

Nancy Carlsson-Paige, professor emerita of education at Lesley University, co-author of the study "Reading in Kindergarten: Little to Gain and Much to Lose" and author of "Taking Back Childhood"
Robert Pondiscio, senior fellow at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an education policy think tank
Colleen Rau, reading intervention specialist, Aspire Berkley Maynard Academy

  • Beth Grant DeRoos

    Why do we allow these cookie cutter programs when reliable research shows each child learns at a different speed and that boys often learn to read later? How about we supply low income children with books for the adult(s) in the home to read to the child beginning at age 1?

    PBS News Hour did an excellent piece last summer (August 22, 2014 ) about a low income program where parents were taught the value of reading to their child and provided free books.

    • Robert Thomas

      BDR, this was an excellent and interesting segment.

      I also recommend a piece of journalism that appeared in 2008 on the subject of one of the Harlem Children’s Zone’s least controversial components, “Baby College”. It’s about a pre-pre school complement to the reading skill progress mentioned in the Newshour piece.

      “It turned out that the biggest difference between the two sets of homes was language. The kids with the professional parents heard 20 million more words in the first three years of their lives than the kids on welfare, mostly just the regular jabber-jabber of parents talking to their children. And those extra words had a huge effect on their verbal ability. It was stunning news that the biggest factor in determining a child’s later success in school wasn’t any of the things we always assumed to be true. It wasn’t money. It wasn’t parental education. It wasn’t race. It was the sheer number of words your parents spoke to you as a child. Among scholars who study inequality, there is more and more evidence out there that the divide between the kids who make it and the kids who don’t starts in the very first years of life.”

      Paul Tough
      #364: “Going Big”
      This American Life, 09.26.2008

      • disqus_63X8zNMKNl

        Absolutely right. It is about language. I do think, though, that the number of words and the vocabulary of parents does have to do with money–insofar as money means you probably get a better education. And it has to do with parents who read, and who value reading and pass that on to their children. And although no one wants to say it, it also has to do with innate verbal ability, both of the parents and the children they raise. And yes, some kids learn to read and like to read even years later than other children. So why are the people making these never-ending new ways ot teaching always insisting that all children learn at the same rate, via the same input?

  • Robert Thomas

    Since my recollection is that I learned to read during the first grade, my reaction to the idea of making kindergarten kids read is somewhat visceral.

    On the other hand, everyone who ever went to school thinks they know something about education. Few of us actually do, me included.

    My non-professional-educator sister was elected a member of her San Jose K-8 district School Board twice. As a citizen politician in the position of representing her neighbors’ interests to the district, something she learned from the actual professional educators of the district’s staff was of a ruinous deficit.

    It was that the large proportion of the district’s younger pupils who were ESL learners not only could not read and write English proficiently for their grade level and not only could they not read in their primary language; a significant number did not even recognize printed words as any language at all.

    So for thee kids at least, perhaps a well breakfasted lesson with letters and words is the best way to start the day. Why can’t they be “play-based” lessons with letters and words?

    I fear that for most kids, no cacophony of school-time “language exposure” will ever make up for its thinness at home.

  • Mollyring

    What is missing from the conversation is that kids in our country are deprived from learning other languages and that is what is greatly putting us behind other countries.

  • Shirley LeGitte

    I went to school in England, and ALL the kids learned to read in kindergarten…when I began public school in America in first grade, we didn’t learn the math that I ALREADY LEARNED in kindergarten in England, until the third grade!

    My experience with public education in this country has led me to believe that the system is designed to deliberately dumb down children.

    • Bob Fry

      Or maybe the system is dumbed down to the slowest student in the class: the non-english speaker, etc.

      What I don’t understand is why, with 100+ years of study of how people learn, and now powerful desktop computers, we keep randomly trying new school programs every few years and don’t develop sophisticated individual learning software.

    • Robert Thomas

      Your superior early primary educational experience doesn’t seem to have precluded you from reaching absurd conclusions. Perhaps this is due to the influence of later, inadequate American curriculum.

      By the way, I believe you mean “deliberately designed”, rather than “designed to deliberately”; is that right? Else, “designed to dumb down” is adequate.

      Everything that’s designed is designed for a deliberate purpose – to please or to be useful. “designed to deliberately” is a clumsy, illiterate redundancy.

      • Whamadoodle

        Heh–Robert Thomas is lecturing someone about their superior tone. I love it. Irony, thy name is Internet.

        However, you’re completely incorrect–her usage is perfectly fine. Obviously, everything that’s designed is designed for a deliberate purpose; just as obviously (well, to Shirley LeGitte and me, anyway), many things that are designed work for purposes that are DIFFERENT from the intended one. That takes care of the “redundancy” charge.

        She clearly meant to draw a distinction between saying something was “designed to accidentally dumb down children,” which might have been clumsy, but would certainly not have been “illiterate” (sic; “illiterate”? This word applies to people, not things. So the phrase she wrote can’t read or write?), and saying it was designed to deliberately do so. Her meaning was clear, and not redundant.

        Try to be correct when you correct someone, man.

        • Robert Thomas

          “RT is lecturing…”

          Who better? I play to my strengths.

          Your analysis of SM’s comment is faulty. Mine was correct.

          What SM probably meant, that “public education in this country” is “designed” ineptly is an imbecilic, insulting exaggeration drawn from personal anecdote, belied by the facts of modern Western culture and American history. What SM intended to write – that SM has concluded therefore that a cabal has conspired intentionally to do this design work – was dull-witted sarcasm that fell flat; what SM actually wrote was “designed to deliberately” which is the same as “designed to consciously” or “designed to [do something by design]” which is a clumsy redundancy.

          You’re quite right in pointing out that my impulse to indict only the sentence and not the author was too generous. I should have written “is the clumsy writing of a functional illiterate.”

          Else, I stand by my post.

          I’m imperfect in my own writing. If I want to scold someone’s schools, I at least take the trouble to read back what I’ve written before pressing the “post” button.

          • Whamadoodle

            Yyyyyeah well you–are aware now, aren’t you, that a sentence can’t BE “illiterate,” right? A person can be. A sentence, or another thing, cannot be. Please consult a dictionary.

            Just as mind-bogglingly, you have AGAIN–after it was pointed out that it is actually possible for something to do something OTHER than the thing it was designed to do–failed to understand that this is obviously the distinction the poster was drawing. She was obviously acknowledging that 1) Common Core was designed to do a thing that is the opposite of its creators’ stated intent; that 2) this design could either have been intentional or accidental, just as Viagra was designed for one purpose, but accidentally proved useful for a different one; and that 3) she is almost driven to suspect that the design feature was intentional.

            Unless you’re claiming that every single feature of things designed is ALWAYS intended–which would be ridiculous–you have failed to grasp your error. Twice.

            But I’m so glad you were nonetheless able to pronounce yourself correct again! Our audience at home was wondering “looks like this is the end! How will he ever get out of this one, and smugly pronounce his utter correctness yet again? Tune in next week for another edition of I Don’t Just THINK I’m God.”

            Your insistence notwithstanding, your appraisal of your lack of error was in error. My appraisal of your post was correct.

          • Robert Thomas

            He he! This is fun! Shrink from My visage. I am that I am.

            First, I take it back. Your tut-tut reminded me of the usage complaint about “illiterate” but the usage is conventional.

            We attach labels in this way all the time and routinely allow them. We refer to an “insane idea” though obviously only sentient beings are sane or insane. We commonly make other constructions like this that are unremarkable. Such constructions are clear in their meaning and unlike “designed to deliberately” they are not clumsy and stuttering.

            Through this back-and-forth, I’ve reconsidered my original suggestion of “deliberately designed” as an alternative to “designed to deliberately”. The former “clangs” less but is equally redundant. There’s no way to put these two words together as verb and intensifying adverb.

            Certainly, a designed thing can have some consequence other than that that it was intended by its designer to have. But no designed thing is ever designed without some intention. No thing is ever designed other than to have some chosen consequence, either in aspect (as in art) or in function. “Designed to deliberately [have some consequence]”, whether the actual consequence was the intended one or any other is inescapably redundant, you see? And that is what SM wrote. SM inserted “deliberately” as an intensifier but it doesn’t work as one here.

            You write

            “2) this design could either have been intentional or accidental…”

            NO. The consequence(s) of design may be those intended or other than those intended or some combination but design is never without some intention.

            This is basic Kantian categorization, okay? “All designed things are designed with some intention” = “All designed things are ‘designed to deliberately’ [have some consequence]”. This is a classic analytic a priori. It is utterly analytic. The predicate is contained within the concept of the subject.

            As for what SM meant, who knows? SM wrote

            “My experience with public education in this country has led me to believe that the system is designed to deliberately dumb down children.”

            Aside from such other clumsiness as the vulgar use of “dumb down” as a transitive verb with children rather than curricula as its object, SM seems – as I wrote above – to want to convey that American education (a rather sweeping invocation) is in its totality so inept and bad that if one weren’t convinced of the improvability, one might conclude that a nefarious cabal has malignantly conspired to make public education this bad.

            The pique with which I wrote My original response was in reaction to both the idiotic nature of this comment – American primary and secondary education is imperfect and often troubled but is extraordinarily heterogeneous and varied; the generalization is particularly asinine considering its basis in personal anecdote – and to the clumsy way the screed was written. Breathless screed is fun to read only when written with some aplomb.

          • Whamadoodle

            Well I am now weary, and the poster should probably take over and defend her own post if it’s to continue.

            However, I can guarantee you that most English primary and secondary education has kicked the living snot out of most American primary and secondary education, for most of the last several decades.

            Our high school graduation rates are quite a bit lower than the UK’s:

            This Cornell University paper makes very clear that the United States compares very poorly to Europe and the UK in primary and secondary schooling, on several measures (but hey, we’re doing better than Brazil, at least!):


    • disqus_63X8zNMKNl

      That’s my experience too, and I was born here. Everything is made to dumb people down–movies, TV shows, made for 12 year olds. Did you know that the first American version of “Harry Potter” eliminated something like a thousand British terms and replaced them with American terms. For example: “wellies,” meaning high rubber boots, was considered too difficult for our children to figure out in context. Why on Earth shouldn’t reading be a challenge? An opportunity to learn new words, new ways of talking about the world?

    • Ada Moreau Demlow

      It is doubtful that ALL the kids learned to read in kindergarten. More likely that you are generalizing your experience to everyone else. I have worked in the library environment for more than 20 years with children from all parts of the world and all kinds of backgrounds and there is not any group of children that ALL learn at the same pace and learn to read at the same age.

      • Whamadoodle

        I went to infant school (kindergarten) in England as well, and I was reading at that age. I understand that we don’t like admitting it, and it’s worth noting that our universities are still considered excellent, but British primary and secondary schools beat ours hollow. British secondary textbooks boast a level of detail that’s missing in typical American university texts.

  • Alexa Eurich, Aurora School

    I am a classroom teacher with over 15 years experience. I currently teach K/1 at Aurora School in Oakland. I am also a certified Reading Recovery teacher. Current brain research shows– and my experiences with children support this claim– children learn to read in different ways. The best way to address these differences is by individuating instruction. Teachers need to ask: where is the child in her process of learning to read? What does she need to learn next? Asking children to learn in the exact same way, at the exact same time, is a recipe for failure for many students. Learning to read is such a joyful experience– through singing, movement, painting, etc. Why would we want to take this away from children, just as they begin their lives as students?!

  • Jean Bickert Gold

    I taught Kindergarten for over twenty years and watched the curriculum change from socialization and play to a skill based program. Children come to school with a varying levels of experience and knowledge, so some are ready to learn to read and write, while others who are overwhelmed. The youngest boys in the class usually have the most trouble, and it ruins their self confidence. I think we are robbing these children of the joy of learning.

  • Robert Thomas

    Anecdote is a useless base on which to discuss this subject.

  • Robert Thomas

    “Baby College”, promoted by the Harlem Children’s Zone and which is one of their least controversial components, is well-aligned with Dr Pondiscio’s comments.

  • Paul_Thiebaut_III

    When we’re talking about disadvantaged students, esp. High Poverty Students, Common Core won’t make a substantial difference in children’s educational and life outcomes unless the home is brought into the conversation.

    I founded 10 Books A Home in 2009 to do just that. Now, we are the first nonprofit in the U.S. to provide early childhood education home tutoring to the nation’s most disadvantaged communities (We currently serve East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park). The idea is very simple: we trade high value programming for high value parenting.

    Children, from 3-5, receive 2 years of individualized tutoring, books, and learning resources if their parents agree to participate in lessons, read with their children, and complete homework assigned by our tutors.

    Our first cohort of Learners to complete kindergarten in 2014 were at/above grade level in a school district where for 20 years nearly 80% have struggled and 60% have dropped out all together.

    And, yes, their reading scores were great! Why? These children came into kindergarten with a deep love for and familiarity with learning, books, teachers, and are supported at home by their parents.

    This combination of ready kindergarteners who find learning at home normal, and supported by their parents, are bound to help teachers, principles, and administrators be able to better support their students.

  • Oakland Parent

    When almost 30% of a Kindergarten class is failing and is recommended to repeat Kindergarten, then the standards are set too high. Common Core in the early years is not developmentally appropriate and is setting up children to fail.

    • disqus_63X8zNMKNl

      I think it’s not that standards are too high–the U.S. already has lower standards than most industrialized nations–but that some, not most, children arrive at school having had little exposure to sufficient language, both spoken and read. Setting lower standards to accommodate them certainly does no good for the majority of children who have been talked to and read to. And what of all the mothers who are out with their children and speak not a word to them but rather yap on their cellphones! I see children begging to get their mother’s attention and the mothers wasting this valuable time to help their children acquire language by…what? playing a video game? Having inane conversations that everyone within earshot–which is sometimes half a block away or more–has to listen to?
      No, the problem is the parents. And possibly their parents, and their parents’ parents. How does that get fixed?

  • Jenni

    My son was a late developing reader. He did not become fluent until the end of third grade. Yet by eighth grade he scored at college level, the highest in his school.

    If he had been made to feel a failure in earlier grades, I think it would have hampered a love of reading that has been a beautiful thing.

    Not all children learn the same thing at the same time.

    Zygotsky’s “Zone of Proximal Learning” teaches us that high levels of learning happen just at the edge of where that individual child is ready to discover.

    I fail to see how standards will help a child learn before they are ready.

    • disqus_63X8zNMKNl

      So true. Just as a child cannot be made to walk by holding him up and encouraging him to move his legs, if his brain isn’t yet wired to walk, you can’t make a child learn anything when he or she is not ready. On the other hand, how would we know if a child is ready if we don’t expose them to higher levels of learning? I think that deciding kids aren’t ready to learn to read, and will be harmed by being taught to read is no more sensible than saying that all kids read at the same time. Or do anything at the same time. But there certainly are norms. We know that children’s brains are most plastic and open to learning language before the age of eight. It seems that every time someone comes up with some new method for teaching–spawning a huge industry of printing and selling new school texts each time–there are people who vehemently disagree. I don’t see how America can dumb things down any more than it has already, but it seems as if another round of it is coming.

      • roberto9

        So if 95% of children are developmentally ready and 5% aren’t what do we base the program on? Bring everyone down or have outlets for that 5%? There will never be a grade where all the kids are the same – especially not in today’s world where every parent clings to excuses as to why their kid is not “capable” of performing. By keeping a low performing program in place it may give confidence to the poor performers but it will no doubt “dumb down” a great many others – that’s something we can no longer afford in this country.

    • SH

      It’s Vygotsky.

    • roberto9

      There will be outliers all the time but we know from research that kids not reading at grade level by 3rd grade have a very tough time advancing – your son was an outlier and did excellent. You don’t base a system on the outliers – IEPs are still offered at all levels even with CCS so for someone like your son who is developmentally slower than the normal kid, adjustments can be made.

  • Juliana W.

    I have mixed feelings with the common core standard. I agree that we should help our kids learn to read and develop their math skills early. But when my 5 year old kindergartener went from a child who loves going to school to a child who is getting anxiety attacks over his WEEKLY sight word tests, I have my doubts.

    I came from a country with drill style education systems. I sat there and memorized time table at a young age. I was not allowed to use a calculator until much older. I was told to underline certain sentences, then go home and copy them as my homework assignments. Yes! I spent hours after school doing my homework. I got very good at underlining whatever they told me to underline. And yes, I have good handwriting. But since I barely had time to breathe with the amount of homework I had to do each day, I did not think about what I was copying. And as a result, I did not retain much of the contents that I copied. I did not learn to think and retain what I was reading until I attended high school in the U.S.

    I like the idea that kids should learn their letters, numbers, even simple words and math at an early age. But when my little kindergartener was asked to define “what is courage” in writing, I am concerned. Do we really need to make our kids hate learning at such a young age? He will have many years down the road to hate school. So, what’s the rush?

  • Christian Carter

    daughter exclaimed she was “stupid” because she wasn’t getting it. Her confidence
    is being destroyed by the pressure the teacher is under to achieve the day and
    weeks agendas set by these universal standards. Each child at this age develops differently.

    • roberto9

      This will happen in all facets of life and certainly education. What happens in 3rd grade if she doesn’t understand fractions? She may again feel that she’s stupid but the answer is not to tailor the education system to what she and you feel she’s capable of but to raise the standard – teach her the items. She may learn slower and may need some supplementation at home or after school but it is imperative that she “gets it”. Life certainly doesn’t get any easier.

      • Christian Carter

        I should say, in my daughter defense, that she gets it but on her own terms at her own pace, which is why we agree with the NPR book discussion. I believe kids should enjoy being kids at a young age, and whatever we can do to build conference will be time well spent.
        Our first daughter had the same experience but she went to a school that did not apply these learning pressures; she learned through play not pressure. She is now an honor student two years running.

  • Minkisi

    Dumb down – The short history of the U.S. has been focused on building this country. Early on it was slavery that supplied massive amount of labor needed. Once slavery ended, the mass migration of Europeans showed up and Unionization began. Throughout all of this, landowners, industrialist and big labor bosses have wanted their workers to focus on getting to work on time and getting the job done. Production has been the mantra. Teach just enough to make sure the worker knows how to do his or her job, This is not a country that has benevolently offered to the masses the luxury of higher ed to round out a citizen’s broader scope of themselves. That was saved for the elite.

    Now, that higher Ed is profitable with the student loan industry, and the notion that we are in an information and technology age where industry needs smarter workers, it’s beginning to reveal that the U.S. education system, starting in pre-school, has not done a good job. This has been especially true among American Black children. Historically, left out of education, generally speaking, in the black culture, very little premium has been placed on any education in the home. Primarily relegated to work status until the end of WWII, as share cropping began to end, the majority of Black people were focused on wage jobs. The same could be said of many whites who were involved in “family farming”. Even in the urban centers where southern Blacks moved, as did the children of farmers, it has been about “get a job”, so the work ethic is pushed in the home. Even going beyond the 8th grade is not uncommon. The struggle for the common man and woman in America to gain an education has been real.

    With that as context, the exposure differences between kids at home with parents who recognize the value of high achievement (because they see possibilities) and those who are unaware that there is even an option for high achievement available, makes a big difference. These differences in support of how a child views his or her family’s condition in the world certainly plays into how eager they are to learn. If there is not a special teacher, who recognizes the deficiencies in exposure and encouragement are lacking in the home, it’s a good bet they are not going to make the extra effort needed to help build confidence in that child, who is starting out at a cultural disadvantage. A disadvantage that most assume doesn’t exist, can’t exist in America. But it does.

    Many of us are still digging ourselves out from under the weight of institutional racism and class-ism of the previous few centuries. Hasn’t been so much as “dumb down” as it has been, just leaving people behind. Today it looks like dumb down because the most well educated children on a family mission are arriving in the U.S. from all over the world. That has mattered in this fast moving new economy. If one hasn’t had a history of reading in the home or shown the premium in education by a conscientious parent, a child is bound to look least favorable for success. Teachers must work harder at the kindergarten level to overcome the hole this country has dug up. Good luck. We need it.

    • disqus_63X8zNMKNl

      I agree. But how are society and schools supposed to improve the premium on education in the home? If the parents are not educated, and many are not, what could be done on a large scale to be sure that all parents value education? As an adult literacy tutor, I can tell you that there are many, many parents who cannot read even at third grade level, if at all. How to fix that enormous problem?

      • Minkisi

        In 1974, The US Supreme Court held that Chinese in San Francisco were
        being unequally educated because of the language barrier. Educators, at
        least in California, adopted English as a Second Language programs. That
        previous generation or two of Chinese parents could not have been the
        most Americanized literate, yet, with this compelling opportunity handed
        them by the Supreme Court, they obviously saw the opportunity open and
        leaped at it.

        Today, 40 years later, we see the result of perceived
        opportunity by that disadvantaged group. I’m not sure what the Chinese
        parents said to motivate the young people, then, but they’ve clearly taken
        advantage. Not sure of the striations of this demographic, which puts
        Asians at 39% of the University of California Admissions, system wide,
        is Chinese. But this is the state of Admission in 2015, and not just at
        UC. The next nearest group is Hispanics at 29%.

        The picture this
        paints for me is; American whites have been so busy undermining the
        opportunity for American blacks they’ve debilitated both opportunities.
        And what a shame. As the 2 greatest producer/ exporters of indigenous American
        culture, emulated the world over, the two have been eclipsed
        educationally by English as a Second Language. How do you fix the supportive interest of parents? More media programming that help parents point to and validate education as the best, if not only way to secure a future in a device driven world. That’s a community collaboration for all Americans.

  • Romana Sinegal

    My son went to a play based preschool and absolutely loved it. He was engaged in class and learned so much. Then he went to PSK. The joy was taken completely from his learning. The pressures on him and me as the parent doing homework he hated was awful. They also expected parents to do as much extra work as possible. The list was 50 points long. But nothing will work if a. the child is spent just from the 3.5 hours he is in school and b. he is just NOT READY for these things. I have to take the lead when my child says he does not want to do something. I want my child to have a love of learning not a chore of learning.

  • Gloria Curling

    Your guest this morning said that he didn’t agree with the universal part of De Blasios universal pre-k. His reasoning was that the wealthy, for example residents of the upper east side, aren’t in need of this program. He’s reasoning is that kids from the upper east side have parents who speak in full sentences, are educated, go to museums, travel and lead more culturally rich lives. That has to be one of the most ignorant insensitive comments I have heard on the radio and that’s saying something. I was raised by working class parents in Manhattan who were educated, took me to museums and believe it or not spoken in full sentences in both English and Spanish. They also took me on trips to visit our family in our ancestral homelands. Even without these trips I was raised in a very culturally rich household. I went to a prestigious New England boarding school with many of these upper middle class wealthy kids and I definitely feel they would have benefitted from leaning from me in pre-k. The amount of ignorance I encountered makes me wonder what it is we call education and what knowledge we value. This idea that only wealthy kids are living culturally rich lives is ridiculous and insulting.

    • roberto9

      That’s crazy Gloria – no doubt your family is an outlier but there are bundles of evidence supporting the exact notion that you claim is ignorant. It may be insensitive but it is correct in most cases and policy should be based on that consideration, not the outliers.

      • Gloria Curling

        Oh right the “exceptional” theory. Oh yes I’m used to white people believing I must be the exception to the rule. You missed the point. Living a culturally rich life is not all about growing up wealthy. It’s not all about traveling and going to museums. I always love how poor or middle class culture is romanticized in movies and pop culture only to be discredited ans humiliated in public discourse. How we talk about things, the language we use matters. I am not exceptional for the reasons white people keep telling me. The vast majority of this country is poor and middle class and I guess you would believe they all lack culturally rich lives.

        • roberto9

          Forget the “culturally rich life” – that has little to nothing to do with CCS and this discussion. Specifically the topic was whether poorer and less educated parents read as much to their kids, press education within the family and correct grammar as richer, more educated parents. There is tons of evidence showing that this notion is completely true – kids raised by poorly educated parents do not get the same education at home as other students – you may be an exception but we know this is predominantly the case. Don’t start bringing in whether you go to museums or not – huh? When was that brought up in the discussion?

  • roberto9

    I’m just not sure where Prof Carlsson is coming from – not even sure if she has ever actually taught in the classroom. Various bios of hers quite clearly state that she has studied early childhood education and that she has taught teaches but she makes a big deal about how those that developed CCS were not early childhood teachers (wrong of course, they just weren’t credited) – so now I must ask if any of her experience with children and reading comes from the actual classroom or just studying? Her biggest bio is that she’s Matt Damon’s mom (I didn’t know that). Out in San Diego it has long been the standard that children enter K with some reading and certainly complete the year reading well – it wasn’t a standard before CCS but just common and expected. I’m not sure if the kids in Cambridge are developmentally behind those in San Diego but out here they certainly seem very capable of reading. My wife and cousin have been teaching Kindergarten for 15+ years now and continue through CCS.I also find it a bit troubling when Prof Carlsson wants to set the standard by looking at what has worked or failed in the US, when we have the worst K-12 education system in the first world. This is very obvious when you talk to immigrant families from Europe and Asia. There have been many recent studies that show a Master’s degree does not help teachers in the classroom (this has been obvious to almost anyone looking at pedagogy in K-12) yet is valued mostly as an additional means to a pay raise – yet Carlsson tries to make that case (with her only evidence being the case in Finland where a 5 year program gets you a Master’s Degree – here in the US we have a similar program requiring 4 years to get your Bachelor’s and then at least a year for a credential certification – I imagine it is very similar to Finland’s)

  • Shannon

    Can we please pay attention to the credentials of Robert Pondiscio. He liked to talked about how he used to be a teacher in the Bronx, but he left teaching to work at the Fordham Institute. Research this institute. I just wonder how pure the motivations are when money is involved.

    Quote from the following piece:
    “I am mindful of the Fordham-Gates connection as influential in promoting CCSS. In my series on CCSS-Gates spending, I note that Gates paid Fordham $2 million to “review” and “track state progress towards implementation of” CCSS.

    I also note that Gates paid Fordham an additional $1.5 million for “general operating support”– which could mean Fordham salaries.”

    For more info: please see:

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