Comparing Common Core’s Kindergarten English/Language Arts Standards to Arizona’s 2016 “Final”

We are at the point where many children who are being taught under Common Core will never recover those lost years.  These children will be sent out unprepared into the world.  I have no faith that the "State" is capable of, or committed to, providing a quality education to Arizona’s children.  Our only hope is that more parents understand that they are far more competent and far more concerned about educating their children.  "Public and private teachers are but proxies, substitutes, surrogates for those ultimately responsible–the parents."  Dr. Ray E. Ballmann

The purpose of this article is to show you that Arizona’s Final ELA standards have changed very little from the original Common Core.   These standards are detrimental to a quality education. 

To see this easily and clearly for yourself, you needn’t have a college degree or teaching certificate.  You don’t have to plow through hundreds of standards.  Take a look at just one grade level:  Kindergarten.  This is where the foundation for learning begins.  To get the most accurate picture of changes, you would need to compare the original Common Core version found HERE with the Final version found HERE.  Unfortunately, it’s a little difficult to follow.  The primary differences include:  Adding the phrase "With prompting and support" or "With guidance and support from adults" to the beginning of some of the standards; Adding a few "Sound-letter Basics and Handwriting Standards;" Moving a few standards from one spot to another; Minor tweaking.  

OR You can more easily and quickly Click HERE to see a close comparison via the "Redline" version.  Once you’ve opened up the Redline version, go to the Kindergarten standards, which is 4 pages from the top.  To the left is how the (slightly tweaked) Common Core standards read.  To the right are the "Final" standards.  Changes are noted in red. 

It’s important to understand what child development experts, teachers, and parents learned long ago.  Young children love to learn and do some things and, because their brains haven’t developed yet, are resistant to and/or incapable of doing other things.  More to the point is that those things they love to do in Kindergarten – Grade 4, they never do well again.  That’s why it’s critical to take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity. 

Young children love to absorb massive amounts of data, and they do it easily.  They learn ABC’s and print and write their capital and lowercase letters. They can memorize rules of phonics and spelling, rules of grammar, vocabulary, stories of history and literature, descriptions of plants and animals and the human body.   They love to hear stories over and over.  They love to recite poems, songs, verses, prayers, and the Pledge of Allegiance.  They can learn a new language.  They are like little sponges, soaking up massive amounts of content.  They build sand castles, invent new songs and poems.  They learn through play.  They love being creative and independent, and they are proud of their accomplishments.  

They need a broad, well-integrated base of knowledge, before being forced to "retell key details," "ask/answer questions about unknown words," "describe relationships," "compare/contrast," "read emergent texts with purpose/understanding," "compose opinion pieces/informative/explanatory texts," "produce organized writing," "respond to critiques of their writing from peers," "critique the writing of their peers," "participate in shared research/writing projects," "participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners," "explore word relationships and nuances in word meanings," etc., etc., etc. 

Also, Common Core fosters dependence, conformity, consensus, and collaboration, not independence, individuality, and creativity.  This dependence is on teachers and their peers, not their parents.  The separation from parents gets worse every year. 

Diane Douglas addressed the problem of developmentally inappropriate standards by taking the advice of two assistant professors at local universities: Elizabeth J. Freiberg Pope, Ph.D., and Sara Abercrombie, Ph.D.  Supt. Douglas also listened to technical reviewers representing Achieve, Inc.  This is the organization that developed the original Common Core.

Thousands of child development experts don’t agree with them. See below for what these folks have to say about how the brains of young chidren work, and how best to teach them. 

Certainly, there are teachers, parents, and students who like Common Core.  Others don’t.  Shouldn’t they have a choice?  One size doesn’t fit all.  It never has, and it never will.

See Also:

Piaget’s Stages of Development (YouTube)

Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development  

Dr. Megan Koschnick presents on Common Core at APP Conference   and Common Core 101: Dr. Megan Koschnick.  

Statement for New York State Assembly Education Forum Brentwood, New York October 10, 2013.  Mary Calamia, LCSW, CASAC.  "We cannot regulate biology. Young children are simply not wired to engage in the type of critical thinking that the Common Core calls for. That would require a fully developed prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain that is not fully functional until early adulthood. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for critical thinking, rational decision-making, and abstract thinking—all things the Common Core demands prematurely." 

Recommended Changes to 2016 AZ Draft English/Language Arts Standards K-5: Lisa Fink   

The Creativity Crisis.  Bo Bronson and Ashley Merryman.

Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul.  Stuart Brown. 2010. 

A tough critique of Common Core on early childhood education

Kindergarten Teacher Speaks Against Common Core: Braves Intimidation by School District and Governing Board.   

A Mandate for Playful Learning in Preschool.  Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, R. M. Golinkoff, L.E. Berk, and D. G. Singer. 2009.  

Reading Instruction in Kindergarten: Little to Gain and Much to Lose.  by Defending the Early Years and Alliance for Childhood.  

Is Kindergarten the New First Grade? The Changing Nature of Kindergarten in the Age of Accountability.  Daphna Bassok and A. Roem.     

“Important New Findings linking self-regulation, pretend play and learning in young children.” Marcy Guddemi.  SEEN, August 21. 

“Moving up the grades: Relationship between pre-school model and later school success.”  R. A. Marconi Ph.D., Developmental Psychology.  Early Childhood Research & Practice 4(1). 

 “Kids Haven’t Changed; Kindergarten Has.” Laura Pappano.

Meet 5 Award-Winning Teachers who Reject Common Core

Finnish Education Chief: ‘We Created a School System Based on Equality’  

The Joyful, Illiterate Kindergartners of Finland

Story-Killers: How the Common Core Destroys Minds and Souls by Terrence O. Moore.