Testing To Get Into Kindergarten?
I was shocked when I heard 4 year olds are not only taking tests to get into Kindergarten, but their parents are paying thousands of dollars for prep courses and toddlers are cramming to make the cut! Are you kidding me? Isn’t that what kindergarten is for? So now you have to study and know everything before you can be allowed to learn?
My son is about to turn 4 and he knows his ABC’s, how to count and I consider him to be pretty bright, but he’s also an active boy, what if on the day he takes the test he decides to not cooperate, then is he screwed?
At first I thought testing was just for private schools, but in cities where the spaces and resources are limited, students are fighting for slots in public schools as well. And it’s not just readiness tests, but hour long tests filled analogies, comprehension and pattern-recognition. Fortunately I don’t live an area where these tests are required, but it really made me question our educational system and the future for our children.
It’s a sad state of affairs when education has come to this, it’s like survival of the fittest and everyone else gets left behind. The problem is, who determines who is the fittest on a standardized test at age 4? Are we testing what they know or just their ability to sit still or who has money to pay for private tutors? Does the class gap just get bigger and bigger?
Does that mean my husband and I would have been left behind? He graduated from Yale, but spent his early years at an open living school which focused on learning, not tests. I didn’t even speak English until I went to school because my parents were immigrants and we spoke Chinese at home. Would we have been considered not smart enough to get into Kindergarten because we didn’t get the right score?
Like every parent I would probably do whatever I could to make sure my children had the best opportunities, but when does it stop? When is it actually hurting your kids?
In my family success was always measured by how well you did in school, but even with my cultural background and my over achiever mentality I can’t imagine putting that type of stress on my toddler. I remember what it was like for me trying to get into the “right” college in high school. The pressure from my parents, the pressure on myself to get the best SAT scores, to get the highest GPA, to be involved in everything. While I can afford prep classes I hope never to put my kids in that position. I can’t imagine that kind of anxiety for a 4 year old.
It makes me angry that parents even have to be put in this position to feel like they are giving their kids a fighting chance. It’s scary how much power those test can have, a single test at the age of 4 can determine the fate of a child’s entire educational path. Especially in places like NY City where you have to score in the 99th percentile to even be considered for some city’s elite schools.
While studies show good testers don’t necessarily turn out to be good students or has any bearing on their future success -I’m sure the admission offices and those prep schools profiting off of anxious parents would disagree. Do high test scores at this age seriously show that you are smarter and more successful or just that you spent hours memorizing something because your parents made you?
I know my children will get a good education, even if they don’t go to the best school because they will have to make the best of whatever opportunities they are given, just like I did.
And if it’s like this in Kindergarten where do we go from here?
More on education and your kids:
- Kindergarten Applications Make Me Want To Cry
- Are Schools Safe Anymore? School Violence Must Stop!
- Classroom Pissing Match: A Student Pees in a Water Bottle