Some education-related articles that have caught my interest lately:
From “The half-day kindergarten time crunch” by Michael Alison Chandler in the March 25, 2014 Washington Post:
So after morning kindergarten finished at 10:30, 6-year-old Carter took his place in a long line of students who supplement their public kindergarten experience with another half day at a private school.
The kiss-and-ride outside his Ashburn school was filled with white vans and school buses bearing the names of private schools, tutoring centers and tae kwon do academies. Carter boarded the bus for Golden Pond, a small brick school tucked behind a strip mall 15 minutes away.
The afternoon kindergarten enrichment program, which costs about $6,000, starts with recess. Then comes lunch….
After lunch, the children typically have Spanish or music and lots of time for group art projects and other hands-on lessons based loosely on the state’s Standards of Learning. Then there’s another recess.
It’s like what kindergarten used to be “before it became teaching to the test,” said admissions officer Margaret Grace.
And from a related post about a 25 year veteran kindergarten teacher who quit because the job had become about “tests and data” (March 23, 2014, The Post’s Valerie Strauss’s Answer Sheet blog):
When I first began teaching more than 25 years ago, hands-on exploration, investigation, joy and love of learning characterized the early childhood classroom. I’d describe our current period as a time of testing, data collection, competition and punishment. One would be hard put these days to find joy present in classrooms.
An article about the intense pressure in local area high schools: (“In McLean, a crusade to get people to back off in the parenting arms race,” Brigid Schulte,The Washington Post, March 23, 2014)
“There’s such a status thing here: ‘I went Georgetown. I want my kid to go to Georgetown or better.’ It’s such a rat race,” says Bowers, who has lived in McLean for 24 years. “Nobody is taking a step back and asking, ‘Is going to Princeton going to make me happier in the long run? Is this even right for my child?’ Because there are real consequences to living this way.”
Nick Anderson’s “Inside the admissions process at George Washington University” from the March 23, 2014 Washington Post is a great look at what really happens on a college admission committe.