The New York Times informs us that there are people who want to put children in school at a much earlier age:
Nearly two decades ago, a landmark study found that by age 3, the children of wealthier professionals have heard words millions more times than those of less educated parents, giving them a distinct advantage in school and suggesting the need for increased investment in prekindergarten programs.
Now a follow-up study has found a language gap as early as 18 months, heightening the policy debate.
The new research by Anne Fernald, a psychologist at Stanford University, which was published in Developmental Science this year, showed that at 18 months children from wealthier homes could identify pictures of simple words they knew — “dog” or “ball” — much faster than children from low-income families. By age 2, the study found, affluent children had learned 30 percent more words in the intervening months than the children from low-income homes.
But where is the evidence that earlier pre-pre-school would fix this problem? That is taken for granted! But the article implicitly admits that schools are failing to give our children literacy. Rather than blame themselves, education experts are making parents and the early years of freedom from school the culprit.
“That gap just gets bigger and bigger,” said Kris Perry, executive director of the First Five Years Fund, an advocate of early education for low-income children. “That gap is very real and very hard to undo.”
Then why has illiteracy been steadily growing in US history even as the standard of living and the middle class have been growing? If poor parents raising sub-standard children were the problem, how were teachers in the past able to do so much more with these children to educate them to read? I think it is far more likely that being given a school assessment that follows a student throughout his years creates and maintains “the gap.” Why should it matter if a child becomes a fluent reader at seven or twelve?
If we simply closed down all schools, ended truancy laws, ended child-labor laws, and told parents that their children were on their own unless they could help them out, then literacy rates would immediately start climbing. School exists to put parents to sleep, make them believe that their children are in the hands of professionals who are far more competent than they are, and make them complacent as they see their children turned into idiots. Back when there was no national education system, America was never as illiterate as it is today.
But the public education system hasn’t been able to dumb us down fast enough. To really do the job, they need to get them younger. Then, as scores get worse and reading declines further, the “scholars” will say this proves that the pre-pre-schools are not receiving enough funds.
Notice what is driving the crusade for younger schooling:
Now, with the advent of the Common Core, a set of rigorous reading and math standards for students in kindergarten through 12th grade that has been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia, educators say the pressure to prepare young children is growing more intense.
So, having made a curriculum unfit for American children, rather than changing it we must change the families and the children. Those priorities are backward.
Schools have done a bad enough job already. We don’t need them grabbing our toddlers.