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  • Sharon Dominica

How Educational Standards are hurting kids.


Every child develops differently. And every educator knows that. But we also have these standards, expectations that each child is expected to achieve in a specific sequence and at every grade. The pressure starts at pre-school where parents are obsessed with making sure their kid knows every alphabet and can count to a 100. It doesn't stop and keeps going on as the years go.


But kids don't always do what our developmental charts say. So often I see a kid who's 3 years ahead in verbal expression but struggling to write their d's or p's the right way. Kids who can do division but can't write 8 properly. What do we do? We frustrate them everyday by forcing them to write D and P the right way. Get them to write pages and pages of the number 8.


Here's what I think. We're wasting our time. Yes the standards are there to guide us, but we have to ride this unique wave of development that every child has. Now don't get me wrong- I'm not suggesting that we throw out the idea of standards-based learning... without a goal to reach every teacher will teach what they feel like and kids will never progress over the school years. What I'm saying is we've taken the standards and made them so rigid that it's starting to hurt our kids.


If a 7 year old child is great at making up songs, or poetry, or telling stories- let them grow. Let them make up stories and record them as audio files. Let them sing songs and record them. Work on the P's and the D's too.. but just be willing to give that time. If a 6 year old child can do division well and wants to do sums but can't write the answers, give them a bunch of number stickers to use. Train their brain in math, and it's OK if their hands take a little extra time to get the writing perfect.


Now how does it work with our school system where a student can't be "passed" to the next grade without reaching those standards? I don't know. But this is a conversation we have to start. Maybe the schools can be more accommodating to advanced, as well as, developing skills. Maybe us parents don't have to push our kids for an A grade every single time. We have to give our kids the space to grow and develop their various skills in a pace that's unique to them.


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