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A World Gone Mad: Admissions Tests for Kindergarten!

11.24.09 A World Gone Mad: Admissions Tests for Kindergarten!

What is wrong with our world when 3 and 4 year old children are being forced to sit for an hour and do test prep?

This is exactly what is happening according to article in the New York Times yesterday. Many parents are seeking out for profit tutoring to get into gifted and talented kindergarten classes in New York City. Since the recession, many parents can't afford private schools, and some public schools use testing to determine placement in higher level kindergarten classes. Never mind that prepping for the test doesn't respect the nature of the test-- it is supposed to be a snapshot of a child's abilities, not something studied for.

This tutoring and test prep does not come cheaply. Parents are shelling out 145 bucks for a session and $90 for a workbook.

"Children often have to be trained to listen to questions from strangers and to sit still for about an hour, the time it takes to complete the two tests." said one New York City tutor.

Can you imagine your 4 year old sitting still for an hour when not sick? I sure can't. Nor would I want them to. The evidence is in on early learning: great swathes of unstructured time is best for early learners and leads to higher achievement in school. Not sitting stil and studying.  Isn't there enough time for that later?

And talk about inequity. The same tutor, speaking in anonymity, said, "“Some kids can do well without preparation, but children who are familiar have an edge,” the tutor said. From an equity perspective, she said, “it’s ridiculous.” I have to agree. What about you?

 image:  by emrank on Flickr

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