Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, January 27, 2013

How Is Common Core For Kindergartners Not Child Abuse?

The NY Post has a horrifying article about the new Common Core expectations for four and five year olds in NYC schools.

Here's a taste:

Kindergarten has come a long way, baby — too far, some say.

Way beyond the ABCs, crayons and building blocks, the city Department of Education now wants 4- and 5-year-olds to write “informative/explanatory reports” and demonstrate “algebraic thinking.”
Children who barely know how to write the alphabet or add 2 and 2 are expected to write topic sentences and use diagrams to illustrate math equations.


The city has adopted national standards called the Common Core, which dramatically raise the bar on what kids in grades K through 12 should know.

The jargon is new, too. Teachers rate each student’s performance as “novice,” “apprentice,” “practitioner” or “expert.”

Kindergartners are introduced to “informational texts” read aloud, such as “Garden Helpers,” a National Geographic tale about useful pests.

After three weeks, kids have to “write a book about what they’ve learned,” with a drawing and sentences explaining the topic.

In math, kids tackle concepts like “tally chart,” “combination,” and “commutative property,” DOE records show.

The big test: “Miguel has two shelves. Miguel has six books . . . How many different ways can Miguel put books on the two shelves? Show and tell how you know.”

An “expert” would draw a diagram with a key, show all five combinations, write number sentences for each equation, and explain his or her conclusions using math terms, the DOE says. 

The consequences of these so-called "higher standards" on the four and five years blessed to have come of school age during the Great Common Core Movement is predictable - they're stressed, full of anxiety and scared:
“For the most part, it’s way over their heads,” a Brooklyn teacher said. “It’s too much for them. They’re babies!”

In a kindergarten class in Red Hook, Brooklyn, three children broke down and sobbed on separate days last week, another teacher told The Post.

When one girl cried, “I can’t do it,” classmates rubbed her back, telling her, “That’s OK.”

“This is causing a lot of anxiety,” the teacher said. “Kindergarten should be happy and playful. It should be art and dancing and singing and learning how to take turns. Instead, it’s frustrating and disheartening.”

The DOE spokesperson was less than empathetic about the horrific consequences of the new Common Core on kindergartners:

DOE spokeswoman Erin Hughes said, “These are the types of activities and exercises that students need to work on to acquire the skills they need to be ready for middle school, high school, college and careers.” 

Wow - this Erin Hughes person seems to have grown up under some similar kind of education system where getting along with others and learning the wonders of life were shelved in her kindergarten and replaced with physics and genome explorations.

Remember the Robert Fulghum book from years ago called "All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten?

In that book, Fulghum wrote that every lesson that you really need from life is taught to you when you're in kindergarten:

Most of what I really need
To know about how to live
And what to do and how to be
I learned in kindergarten.
Wisdom was not at the top
Of the graduate school mountain,
But there in the sandpile at Sunday school.

These are the things I learned:

Share everything.
Play fair.
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life -
Learn some and think some
And draw and paint and sing and dance
And play and work everyday some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world,
Watch out for traffic,
Hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.
That's what used to be taught in kindergarten.

Now under the Gates/Broad/Murdoch/Obama/Bloomberg/Cuomo/Klein/Rhee/Duncan/Bush education reform movement, they don't teach any of those things anymore.

Instead they teach how to get an eating disorder or a drug habit or an alcohol problem or workaholism or a shopping compulsion or OCD or a sex addiction or neurosis or any number of other issues because your kindergarten years have had all the joy and fun taken out of them and have been replaced with high stakes testing, higher order math and language lessons, and cutthroat competition with your peers.

It's not a mistake that the same oligarchs who have brought this insane Common Core to fruition do not send their kids to schools that use Common Core.

They send them to Waldorf schools.

Or Quaker schools.

Or Montessiori schools.

Or the Lab School.

You know, the kinds of schools that aren't run like army drill camps, where the teachers aren't graded using test scores, where the kids don't take high stakes standardized tests all throughout the year, where students get to explore meaningful subjects and lessons rather than endless test prep and drills.

The Common Core Federal Standards are tantamount to child abuse and we need to take the people promoting these things to court and charge them with crimes against humanity.


It's not a mistake either that the people who promote this abusive and authoritarian education system are the kind of people who would fail a standardized test based upon Robert Fulghum's book.

They never learned how to get along with others.

They never learned how to share.

They always need to win.

They always need things their way.

They like to hurt people (or fire them publicly on TV.)

And they never clean up their own messes.

Fred Rogers is dead but I really wish he were around today so that he could take the lead in exposing these Common Core Federal Standards for the garbage they are.

And I believe he would do just that.

Let's channel Fred Rogers and Robert Fulghum and John Dewey and Charles Dickens and Howard Zinn and George Carlin and all the other people who taught us that education is about more than testing and drilling, who taught us that education does not come out of a book but comes out of real world experiences with other people and other beings.

The Common Core as carried out by the NYCDOE is an abomination because we have a vindictive petty tyrant in charge of the city who wants to enforce compliance and obedience from the masses and thinks this kind of education system is the best way to do just that, but please know that the rest of the country is going to get similar treatment as these standards get implemented.

These standards are not meant to get kids up to speed with what they should really know.

These standards are meant to scare kids, parents, teachers and principals that what they're doing isn't good enough, that they need to work longer, harder and faster because omigod the Russians are beating us, er, I mean the Japanese are beating us, what I mean is, the Koreans are beating us, or the Chinese are...ah, screw it, SOMEBODY is beating us and we MUST take action to be Number 1 again!

The reality is, the only people who are beating us are the oligarchs and members of the 1% who have stolen most of the wealth in this country and now want the rest of it.

These wealthy, greedy oligarchs are using this education reform movement to educate the next generation of kids to expect to have to work longer and harder for less, to never get vacations or time off, to lead lives that are about drudgery and nothing else.

Most of all, these wealthy, greedy oligarchs want children to grow up rife with fear and anxiety, the earlier the better, so that they will grow into obedient and compliant adults, good workers who do what the bosses say and good consumers who buy what the advertisers tell them to buy.

As a side note, when you infuse a generation of children with the kind of fear and anxiety that the education reformers are infusing this current generation with, you are going to get a whole bunch of people with a lot of emotional issues that corporations can make a lot of money from - and I'm sure Big Pharma, the casino industry, the alcohol industry, the fast food industry, etc. are licking their corporate logos at that thought.

That's intentional on the part of the education reform oligarchs too - don't think they haven't thought that stuff through.

The only thing they like better than obedient workers is compliant consumers.

And so, I will say again, we not only need to kill the Common Core Federal Standards deader than a minimum wage hike in Mississippi, we need to take the people who promoted this crap - from the education think tankers who developed it and sold it to the politicians who put it into place to the education system functionaries who are carrying it out - and make sure they never get any power over anybody or anything ever again.

Because anybody who thinks four and five years need to learn permutations over sharing, test prep over play, and fear over wonder shouldn't be in charge of anybody or anything.


  1. There is no doubt in my mind that this is child abuse.

    1. Wiki defines child abuse thus:

      Child abuse is the physical, sexual or emotional mistreatment or neglect of a child or children.[1] In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department for Children And Families (DCF) define child maltreatment as any act or series of acts of commission or omission by a parent or other caregiver that results in harm, potential for harm, or threat of harm to a child.[2] Child abuse can occur in a child's home, or in the organizations, schools or communities the child interacts with. There are four major categories of child abuse: neglect, physical abuse, psychological or emotional abuse, and sexual abuse.

      It seems to me that Common Core for four and five years fits that definition.

  2. Bravo and thank you! Please don't forget the work of Piaget.Here is a quote from Wikipedia: It is primarily known as a developmental stage theory, but in fact, it deals with the nature of knowledge itself and how humans come gradually to acquire, construct, and use it. To Piaget, cognitive development was a progressive reorganization of mental processes as a result of biological maturation and environmental experience. Children construct an understanding of the world around them, then experience discrepancies between what they already know and what they discover in their environment...Moreover, Piaget claims the idea that cognitive development is at the center of human organism and language is contingent on cognitive development
    The common core does not take any of a child's developmental stages into consideration.

  3. Sweet. New evaluations will never get a "yes" vote from me, pay raise or no pay raise, it is simply more frivolous testing for children.

    Screw the Common Core.

  4. This is a deliberate attempt to forcefeed inappropriate curriculum on students so that they will be forced to drop out of school in the seventh or eighth grade. I fully expect compulsory education to be outlawed in this country so as to make way for a return to child labor.

  5. If the UFT/AFT and DOE/Gates/Corp Dedformers support it my automatic response is to oppose. It is also teacher abuse.

  6. I just had a conversation with a very good friend who teaches in a very bad neighborhood and who is being shoved from pillar to post now that she is over 60 and has 18 years in. She was "rotated" from a pre K program in which she was wildly successful in to kindergarten, where she now attempts to teach and gets U rated observations. Of course she has the most psychotic troubled kids and nothing but criticism from a racist, mean, stupid principal who may have come out of the Leadership Vacuum Academy. This stupid mean child abuser expects my friend's kindergarteners to write some pieces on persuasive argumentation. This principal, by the way, was the same one who expected my friend's pre k class of 3 and 4 year olds to sit and read for 20 minutes. She had to remind this moron that the children barely could wipe their asses or recognize letters. My friend uses math manipulatives and told me the kids just want to make trains on their desks out of them. Of course the psychotic ones are throwing the math manipulatives around the classroom. My friend is ready of course to retire and hates a job that she used to love. She feels sorry for the children who need to learn how to play and socialize. Not many of them had the pre k experience that was so much different for her professionally. It sounds like the Dark Ages of education have arrived. Child development including the actual development of their brains is not even a blip on the so called Education Reformers' radar screens. It's education by intimidation of both the children and the teachers. It's the 14th century with technology. The mean spiritedness of this Common Core approach makes me want to emigrate to a more humane perhaps socialist country that doesn't use its citizens as commodities and has some respect for childhood. I played in kindergarten and had centers and snack time and recess. I had a long and pretty successful career in the NYC schools. Why can't these children have the same opportunities? It's definitely psychological and emotional child abuse.

    1. What you fail to understand is that it is socialists who are pushing this garbage on our educational system. I know. I've lived in some of those socialist countries you say you might like to move to. They educate children in a way that allows them to be manipulated as adults. They are not taught how to think...they are taught what to think.

  7. What really annoys me we all know the CCSS are abuse but yet teachers and administrators are still implementing them ! I feel if educators know the CCSS are harmful to their students they need to take a stand and stop implementing them in their classroom or they are just as guilty as the creators.

  8. We are writing extensively about the problem with Common Core math standards

  9. So we would have to teach pre-k schools in preschool? Oh and preschool skills while a better yet we could start in utero...what about developmentally apprpropriate curriculum ....

  10. I am interested in inviting you to be a guest on my podcast, Please Speak Freely, Honest Conversations about Youth Development and Education ( and on iTunes) to discuss this issue and possibly others. Please email me if you are interested at

  11. This is not only disgusting and it is adding to so many pressures that are then adversely affecting their social and problem solving skills as well. Young children should be given opportunities for hands on learning. If you want to give the child a doll named Miguel, toy books a book shelf and then ask the children to show you how to sort the books, fine. But without the experience it is beyond their cognitive development and skills to ask them to draw it and then write a sentence about it. IT IS ABSURD and I do believe it to be to the detriment of a child's development! In the time that it takes to perform these ccss assessments and task and add a sentence and writing component to those activities is time lost in developing critical thinking skills, in learning how to problem solve and in exploration. Learning, REAL learning is (to borrow a phrase) something DONE BY the child not to the child! Teaching students to think critically about a problem (math social experiences, reading or otherwise) is teaching them to first understand and then extend that into an ability to transfer learnings – to appropriately connect, make sense of, and use discrete knowledge and skills in context
    Why is it that all the learning through play experiences, and hands on experience based learning opportunities that helped shape and aid in the development of these so called "policy makers" is what they are now denying and robbing this generation of children from those same learning experiences. Shame on them and shame on us if we just stand by and watch the death of childhood happen in front of our very eyes.

  12. Left out of the list of alternatives to kindergarten: home school.

  13. I come from the UK where by the age of 5 children have goals (many inappropriate) that they have to reach, but nothing as ludicrous as this. Was there no consultation with anyone who knows about child development? What can the teachers do, can they refuse to administer the tests? In the UK many teachers boycotted SAT tests at age 7 and phonics tests at age 5 because they were deemed inappropriate.
    If I were a teacher or parent in this state, I would be making a stand.

  14. I teach kindergarten. A good teacher does not teach these standards in the way they are depicted here. Common Core is welcome in my classroom where we solve story problems by using hands on manipulatives. We discuss and explain our mathematical thinking within dance, movement, even something as simple as the lunch count. We build communities with blocks and test our number sense by solving how many blocks will we need to build said communities within certain spaces. The standards are not the problem. I know in kindergarten they are very developmentally appropriate if taught correctly. It's the interpretation and assessment that is the problem.

    1. Brandi, your approach sounds developmentally appropriate, but how do you fulfill the standards as laid out at the following link, for example? And other standards that require the 5/6 year olds to recognize and write numbers and letters? One commentor brought up Piaget as relates to child-development. I have not read much Piaget, but sounds like his understanding of child development was similar to that of Rudolf Steiner of whom I've read quite a bit. Have you studied Steiner? Forcing children to recognize, write, analyze, etc. before they're cognitively ready, before the end of the "age of imitation" (about 7 years old), seems that it will only cause harm. They're only young for such a very short time. The new standards aren't much different from the old, in this regard, but seem worse. I'm glad that I have the option to homeschool.

    2. I have studied Piaget and the standards are not developmentally appropriate because the intention is to apply the standardized tests to 1st and 2nd grade in the near future. The answer to the Common Core standards is to start younger, (say the system) not to develop the brain functions that produce critical thinking. Steiner's educational method, utilizes many ideas from Piaget in many ways. These critical brain functions that support higher conceptual thinking is fostered in a way that supports a healthy human being, every human being not just those who demonstrate a high linguistic and/or mathmatical intelligence only as is presently done. I think it's great that you homeschool, as long as you strive to keep others involved in your overall life, avoid burnout of yourself, and make sure you are using proven methods and keep yourself and your children nurtured and academically active. That said so many people cannot do this, so what happens to their children? Are their children worth less? Obviously I think not. All children and humans deserve respect, health and the ability to make a choice, not to be enslaved with pressure and authoritarian rule. It seems vastly unfair that these children do not have a healthy development, they are taught to think only in concrete terms and are in fact taught to be the "masses" not distinctive in anyway. It seems this new system is designed to lead students and teachers to failure.

  15. I teach 8th grade Pre-Algebra. All but one post (by a teacher - yeah!) is laden with fear. It is evident that critical thinking skills are lacking simply based on the number of people who fell for the rhetoric of this article. Common core teaches critical thinking skills and develops those skills at an early age.
    Currently by the time these students reach me, they are reluctant, at best, to explain their reasoning and to analyze their own thinking. With common core, these habits of mind will be developed from an early age, admittedly while students are very impressionable.
    I think it is naive and insulting to say that even a very young child is not bright enough to engage in higher level thinking. If I may be so blunt - kids are lazy, but they are NOT dumb. They are very clever at getting out of work and very good at manipulating adults into thinking they can't do something.
    So, before you scream how the principles behind common core are abusive, I respectfully request you spend some time in a typical classroom getting to understand the challenges that teachers are up against including an unsupportive public who thinks that children can do no wrong. In addition, as a sound common core lesson would require, supply EVIDENCE that your opinion is valid.
    I have to agree wholeheartedly with Brandi above that the concerns about common core are being taken out of context. The example with Miguel and the books, (oh, wait, perhaps what's bothering you is that the child's name is not Suzy or Johnny) Anyway, the student will have had time to practice the skill using real materials and practice explaining their reasoning before the ASSESSMENT (nothing new here). I fail to see how a child learning about the commutative property (which is part of the current curriculum) is a bad thing. How is teaching kids to justify their thinking anti-critical thinking? Common core addresses the very concerns that I see in the previous posts, yet people seem too bound by fear to investigate for themselves. If you truly want to fix education, spend your effort doing something other than generalizing teachers as child abusers committing "crimes against humanity".

  16. I wholeheartedly agree that students still need the skills they should know by kindergarten - kindness, sharing, etc. However, there are other skills that are vital to being competitive in the global economy that go far beyond kindergarten.
    Even if you and/or your money never ventures outside of the country, you still need to rely on the thinking skills of others. If you had cancer, would you want the doctor or nurse to have only a kindergarten education?

  17. Common core professionals almost bringing everything to our interest and it would become easy for others as well to have a look on some objective parts, they would surely prove this to be the best thing.