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Friday, February 18, 2011

Cramming for kindergarten tests

I know the trend these days are to have our young people sent to pre-school in order to prepare them for school. Still is Kingergarten really that serious where you have to test them. So what is this Tribune article all about?
To test into some of Chicago's top schools, incoming kindergartners must be able to do more than just count to 10 or rattle off the alphabet.

They could be asked to identify trapezoids, figure out how many cookies they'd have if Mom put two more on their plate, demonstrate advanced literacy skills and, for gifted programs, be able to infer relationships, recognize patterns and predict what comes next.

You can probably predict what comes next yourself: With 3,337 applications filed for about 500 seats in Chicago Public Schools' classical and gifted kindergarten programs next fall, parents are helping their preschoolers cram for the tests.

"It's just yet another example that the country has gone test crazy," said Robert Schaeffer, public education director for FairTest, a national nonprofit that advocates for other methods of assessing young children. "This sort of insanity testing produces test coaching for little kids and gaming of the system by parents and others to figure out what's on the test and get their kid a leg up. We're not letting kids be kids, and we're making them into little Einsteins."

But with low-performing neighborhood schools an unattractive option and the cost of some private schools out of reach, many parents see CPS' selective enrollment programs as the best public education option in the city. As kindergarten is an entry year for most of those programs, many parents are hiring private tutors, researching tests used in other large urban school systems, finding age-appropriate questions online and doing whatever else it takes to get their kids on the right track early.
Read the whole thing!

I do believe McDade is one of those classical elementary schools on the south side.

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