Arizona Wants Kindergarteners Ready For College and Work -- Now!

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Higher education is important. Not only does it correlate with higher lifetime earnings, but it offers a chance to learn more critical thinking, broaden horizons, and become a better-rounded human being and citizen. There are good reasons to encourage kids to go to college and to think seriously about careers. But kindergartners?

The Arizona Department of Education has created a roadmap of activities by grade, starting with kindergarten, as the Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post reported. And those activities include getting ready for college. Here's a snapshot of the roadmap for the children:

Arizona Department of Education

Included among the tasks are "I will attend a community event on a college campus" and "I will check out scholarships." By the way, those are college scholarships for children under 13, not money to go to a private grade school. In addition is the task "I will create picture books about careers and select the jobs I like," as if kids of that age will really know what they want to do for work, or even understand what it us past a game of dress up like mommy or daddy. (As if kids in college necessarily know what they want to do.)And, of course, there are the obligatory worries about meeting standardized test expectations.

Strauss covers education at the Post and has documented a disturbing number of developments at the kindergarten level. School systems increasingly put pressure on young children even as child development experts increasingly question whether a focus on academics over recess, naps, fun, and learning to share is wise. Yes, some kindergarten teachers have had to stop offering snacks or recess because there's no time in the schedule.

The drive to instill academic achieve among such young children results in some interesting developments, Strauss has further covered, like the worry in Mississippi that too many of the state's kindergarteners were already lagging in reading. And the kicker? The tests were given on desktop computers with mice and the kids with the lowest scores "may not have been truly comfortable" using the equipment, meaning that the scores could have been artificially low.

Perhaps the country has this all wrong. Maybe it's the top officials and legislators who could use a snack and a nap.
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