Are You Preparing Your First Grader for College?

Following on from my ‘Exam Factory’ posts earlier, I thought I’d share this piece from a blogger in the US. Seems like they have similar issues to us….

One Good Dad

I sat across from my son’s first grade teacher as she said with a straight face, “If he is going to be college ready, these are some of the things he needs to work on.” My eyes widened with unbelief as to what I just heard and I uttered a two word question with a turned-up lip, “college ready?” Stepping back from what she is supposed to say as she read my reaction, she whispered, “I know…right? They actually want us to use those words now… college ready… for first grade. They’re even using it in kindergarten now.”

My eyes looked up into the corner of my mind as I wondered, “Was Einstein college ready in Kindergarten, or JFK, MLK, Louis Pasteur, Marie Curie, Darwin, Tesla, Stephen Hawking, or Edison?” When did we start caring so much about getting our children ready at such an early age? When did we…

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The Exam Factory: Part 2

In my previous blog post I wrote about the pressure that 10YO is facing in her SATS year at school.  The more I think about the wider context, I can understand how this comes about in Year 6. I’ve written elsewhere about the teacher-bashing in our right wing media. Education Minister Nicky Morgan is not averse to putting the boot into the profession as well. Earlier this month she announced that under new Conservative plans, “all pupils will have to know their 12 times table by the time they leave primary school”. Which of course sounds perfectly reasonable on the surface, and begs the obvious question ‘why on earth aren’t those dreadful teachers teaching the times tables already?’, playing to the gallery of those on the political right who love to criticise the teaching profession.

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Welcome to the Exam Factory

10YO has always loved school, but now that she’s in her final year of primary school, she’s starting to get very worried about whether she’s “making enough progress”. After witnessing her breaking down in tears about her homework several times, I thought it was time I had a conversation with her teachers. It went something like this:

Teacher: “I’m really pleased to say that she’s comfortably at level 5c in maths which is excellent and in fact in her last test she was at 5b, so we’re confident that we’ll be able to get her up to a Level 6 in time for the SATS”

Me: “Errr??”

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