March 27, 2014: Maybe this could only happen in the fields of dreams that surround Washington, D.C., but, then, with the sudden national urgency to create successful global competitors...well, here's a warning shot from Valerie Strauss, who writes "The Answer Sheet" blog in the Washington Post:
I’ve published a number of posts about the transformation — some would say the destruction — of kindergarten in this era of standardized test-based accountability. Play has been replaced with academic work, and young kids are tested ad nauseam and given little or no time for fanciful things like recess or art. But as bad as that sounds, it could be worse — and in some places it is.
At left, a Soviet kindergarten in the 1970s.
My Post colleague Michael Alison Chandler wrote a story about kindergarten focused in Loudoun County, Va., the only school district in the greater Washington region — and one of just four in Virginia — that does not offer universal full-day kindergarten. Because students are in class only three hours a day, she writes that teachers have a lot of academic work to pack in and as a result, there isn’t much time for physical education (which isn’t required) and music and art. But there also isn’t time for something else now either. Chandler wrote:
Some kindergarten teachers stopped offering a snack because it takes up too much time.
The issue here isn’t that all kids must have a snack during a three-hour period in kindergarten. Some don’t; some probably do. The point here is that there isn’t time for a snack. If that doesn’t tell you how far into nuttiness we have fallen in this school reform era, I don’t know what does.