The soft bigotry of low expectations

It’s time to register the 4-yr-old for kindergarten next year.  Here’s what the local school board says about reading and writing in kindergarten:

Meaningful activities which involve the child in reading and writing in a variety of ways are the foundation of the Kindergarten program. The child is helped to observe carefully, to note likenesses and differences in the appearance of objects and pictures, and to listen carefully to similarities and differences in sounds.  They learn letter names and sounds.  As Kindergarten children engage in discussion and experiences with others, their vocabularies and conceptual understandings grow, thus providing a richer background for reading.

In Kindergarten the child is introduced to the world of books and printed symbols.  As children thumb through books on the library shelf, they “read” the pictures and perhaps make up stories about them.  As they listen when the teacher reads to the class and as they notice signs and labels on various objects in the room, they gradually understand that writing is another way of communicating. 

Considering that the boy can already correctly interpret those scare-quotes, let’s hope that there’s some *actual* reading going on . . . . !

Saturday is the school district’s kick-off orientation for registration.  We’re a bit ambivalent.  On the one hand, we can use the sleep; on the other hand, reading pamphlets like this does make you wonder–“is our children learning”?  (That same educational philosopher-king also has said, though, that “childrens do learn,” so maybe I should just relax.)

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2 Responses to The soft bigotry of low expectations

  1. Tom says:

    Don’t take it personally; it’s not expected that children will come into kindergarten able to read. Most don’t, many will learn during kindergarten and some take until 1st grade. They let both of my kids read aloud to the other kids in kindergarten and they both got a kick out of that.

    It used to be that no intervention was talked about unless the kids weren’t reading in 3rd grade, but CMT and other expectations have changed that significantly.

  2. jbj says:

    Thanks for this. I do know that most kids don’t arrive at kindergarten reading–but that bit about “gradually understand[ing] that writing is another way of communicating” kills me.

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