In D.C., controversy over academic testing has new frontier: preschool

Aug 25, 2013 by

test pageThe controversy over academic testing has spread to an unlikely frontier in Washington: preschool.

Some D.C. parents are protesting a proposal by the city’s public charter school board to rank preschools based largely on how children as young as 3 are performing on reading and math tests.

The board set out to provide parents with a clearer picture of how charter schools compare with one another. It also wants to provide educators with a way to measure progress toward the goal of better preparing children for school, a goal that led city leaders to make a historic investment in universal preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds.


But as of Saturday, more than 200 parents had signed a petition asking the board to take a broader look at school quality and put more weight on the social and emotional development they want to see emphasized in their children’s schools.

“People are going to focus on what is measured,” said Luba Vangelova, a parent who spoke against the plan at a public hearing this month. “This is going to steal time away from the things that really matter, like play and exploration.”

Early assessments of reading and math skills are administered in preschool classes throughout the country, but they are typically used to improve instruction and target lessons to children’s varying needs.

The charter school board’s rating system could inform decisions about whether a charter school would be closed, according to Sara Mead, a member of the public charter school board. Some parents also worry that it could harm fundraising and student recruitment.


via In D.C., controversy over academic testing has new frontier: preschool – The Washington Post.

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