Common Core: Teaching Kindergartners to Be Computer-Dependent
Pardon me, but I’m still shaking from a conversation I just had on the playground with another mommy from my son’s music class. She’s currently homeschooling her daughter so in between pushes on the swing we talk the trade of moms who shoulder the massive undertaking of their child’s education, often to their family’s chagrin.
Her husband was against the idea of homeschooling their daughter, who is now six, so she did her research. Among other things, she learned that today’s kindergartners don’t learn how to tell time on an analog clock or how to calculate change. They don’t need to learn these things, educators reason, because all clocks are digital and computers do the math. Computers also allow students to “publish” their own work in accordance with Common Core, so most educators don’t bother emphasizing good writing skills, either. Kindergartners learn the rudiments of printing before being pushed onto keyboards to learn typing skills. You know, so they can interact with computers that do all the thinking.
When I arrived home I went onto my local school district’s website. While specific lesson plans aren’t published, curriculum guides are. These include an emphasis on publishing a student’s work, even if it’s just one to two sentences accompanied by an illustration. Keep in mind, however, that Common Core requires digital publication, which is why students will “explore a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing." Want your kindergartner to be a blogger? Better set those comment filters now.
Even more shockingly, kindergartners are expected to learn via a series of “centers” involving “independent reading." How would a child unable to read go about reading independently, you ask? Via audio-enhanced web software. That’s a fancy way of saying your child is listening to an audio-book. What is the teacher doing? Facilitating a group discussion on reading in which children “celebrate” what they learned during their independent study time. But, don’t worry, your child will be given a list of things to do so she doesn't waste time waiting for her turn with the teacher.
At the end of the day, the greatest skill kindergartners are expected to master is the ability to push a button. How do I know this? Because that is the one and only skill they will repeat multiple times during the day. Need to know the time? Push a button. Do a math calculation? Push a button. Read? Push a button. Write? Push a button. These children aren’t being taught to think, let alone think critically. They’re being told to keep themselves busy while waiting for human interaction by pushing buttons.
A parent who hands her child a phone to play with while she waits in line at Target is now equipped to be a public school kindergarten teacher.