Sep 20, 2013 by

“Child Clinical Psychologist: Common Core Harmful to Children”

Compiled by Donna Garner


I realize that we all get many e-mails that say “MUST SEE” at the top. However, this YouTube really is a “MUST SEE.” It will be the fastest 25 minutes you have ever spent.

On 9.9.13, Dr. Megan Koschnick spoke at a Common Core Standards conference held at Notre Dame. The conference was sponsored by the American Principles Project.

Dr. Koschnick is a child clinical psychologist and explained her deep concerns that the Common Core Standards are developmentally inappropriate for young children and could do psychological damage to little children.

Her presentation is highly engaging because she gives frequent real-life examples from real children as to how their brains function and what normal reactions are. She has a kindergarten child of her own.



Dr. Koschnick questioned the developmentally inappropriate standards written by the Common Core Standards Committee who evidently looked at what adult students need to know to be college and/or workplace ready and then worked backwards writing the standards going from 12th grade on down to Kindergarten. [This is the exact opposite of the way the human body develops which develops from the part to the whole. – Donna Garner]

Dr. Koschnick pointed out that older students can think abstractly, but to assume that little children can do the same thing is developmentally inappropriate. To ask a little child to analyze and think logically is impossible. They are concrete thinkers at that age.

For instance, Dr. Koschnick pointed out that the CCS require Kindergarten students to “reason abstractly.” Children like concrete operations – no abstractions. “Explain, justify, and apply principles” are abstract in nature. Under the CCS, it will no longer be enough for a child to know that 7 minus 3 is 4, but the K child will have to “explain and justify” how he came up with that answer (e.g., inverse property of mathematics, an abstract principle).

It is also impossible for a little child to reflect or think about their thinking. They do not understand empathy. Children are also only semi-logical, and they routinely confuse reality and fantasy.

Expecting little children to do things that are developmentally inappropriate will create great stress in them. Measuring students against inappropriate standards will cause teachers to report students as being abnormal when in reality, it is the standards that are at fault.


GRADE 3 — CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.5c – “Distinguish shades of meaning among related words that describe states of mind or degrees of certainty (e.g., knew, believe, suspected, heard, and wondered).”

Dr. Koschnick explained that this is developmentally inappropriate for young children because they do not think abstractly until much later in life. They do not grasp their state of mind, other people’s states of mind, or the nuances of words. They do not know the differences between “knew” and “believe.” What will happen when a student is tested on a CCS assessment that contains these abstract and developmentally inappropriate questions?

KINDERGARTEN – CCSS.Math.Content.K.OA.A.5 – “Fluently add and subtract within 5.” Kindergarten students are in the pre-operational stage and do not yet know how to change things. By around the second half of Grade 1, children would be much more able to do this. CCS pushes down onto the lower grades some of the “heavy” skills during the time that they should be learning more basic skills.

SIDEBAR: Dr. Koschnick pointed out that brain scans (MRI’s) done on Grade 12 students doing math facts showed that those who had memorized them fluently actually have developed a different part of the brain which then allows another part of the brain to be free to do more complicated math computations. In other words, students who have not learned their math facts to the fluency/automaticity stage are limited in their abilities to do higher level thinking.

Dr. Koschnick explained that Kindergarten children should be learning to be independent and competent. They should learn to exhibit mastery of simple tasks and allow their creativity to develop. Instead, the CCS social and emotional goals are developmentally inappropriate.


KINDERGARTEN – CCS — “With guidance and support from adults, respond to questions and suggestions from peers and add details to strengthen writing as needed.”

Instead of stressing independence, this Kindergarten CCS makes students dependent on the group at a writing table. Because no research has been done on the effects of the CCS and none is cited in the standards, no one really knows the emotional effects they will have on little children. The Kindergarten CCS moves children into a loss of creativity and into a pattern of conformity. This will cause them to get frustrated because they are internally motivated to be independent. By requiring K children to be dependent on the “group,” this will most likely create conflicts out on the playground and lots of tears of frustration.

KINDERGARTEN – CCS — “Speak audibly and express thoughts, feelings, and ideas clearly.” Dr. Koschnicksaid this CCS is meant to create “little board members” of children who are not yet capable of adult exchanges.

GRADE 2 – CCS — “Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., gaining the floor in respectful ways, listening to others with care, speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion.)”

The audience broke into laughter when Dr. Koschnick explained that teachers already wear many hats; but that under CCS, “Teachers will have to wear yet another hat and that will be the hat of a magician…They [teachers] would have to sit down and get little children to do things that we cannot get adults to do.” How could little children learn to “hold a board meeting”?

Dr. Koschnick said she had looked at the makeup of the CCS committee and found no early childhood educators (Pre-K and K), no child development experts, no psychologists, no pediatricians, and no neuropsychologists.

Dr. Koschnick concluded her presentation by displaying an example of the type of standards from other disciplines. She chose one from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry that showed each step or phase is guided by scientific research, contains a citation, has been published in academic journals, and has been peer reviewed.

Dr. Koschnick ended by saying, “Surely you would think that academic standards for a nation of children would be based upon research…we do not want children to be little guinea pigs or experiments or mice…”

*I listened to Dr. Koschnick’s presentation and have tried to transcribe it as accurately as I could. – Donna Garner

Donna Garner


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