I read this article in the Times with some interest. It recounts a debate among high power private school parents in Manhattan and educators in their high power private schools over when children should be taught to read.
Essentially, the schools think kindergarten is too young, but the parents would like phonics working for their kids while in utero. I suppose there are educational and emotional reasons for both positions. JP doesn’t yet read, for example, but I get the sense that he has reached a stage where he could be taught to do so. I don’t know that I have the necessary skill (or patience, to be frank) to teach him. It disappoints me a bit that his current school, a pre-K, doesn’t, and that his public kindergarten teacher next year likely won’t.
Is that an expression of a New York–specific anxiety over my child’s academic progress? Probably. I don’t send him to school anywhere else, so it’s hard to tell. I do know that the competition for what seems like increasingly scarce resources here is formidable, as are the pressure and the sense of never knowing what is the right thing to do.
In an environment where my son got turned away from eight PUBLIC schools for pre-K, where there is a lottery for another PUBLIC school that I’m considering having him attend, and where the system for the PUBLIC schools is rife with misinformation, slashed budgets, and limited opportunities, I think it’s fair to see some free-floating concern directed at his academic progress. What else can I control as a parent?
That doesn’t mean the Times should resist the delights of making fun of over-thinking parents, and no, no, no, they don’t. I like this little bit below ridiculing parents:
She also echoed the belief of some parents that the ability to read will bolster her child’s chances of being admitted to a top school. Officials of some of these schools insist that this is not so, and the E.R.B., the standardized test required by most for admission, does not have a reading component.
“It’s not as though we have two extra points for reading Dr. Seuss,” said Mr. Trower, the head at Allen-Stevenson.
Calhoun goes further: If a family seemed fixated on Junior’s uncanny ability to read James Joyce, Mr. Nelson said, “that would probably be a liability in our admissions decision.”
Fuck ’em, right?