One of my broken record themes is the death of kindergarten. It's one of the saddest things about modern education. Kids are having kindergarten stolen away from them, and though it's happening right in front of us, everyone just throws up their hands and says "what can you do?"
This week, I had two kindergarten parents in, one looking for sight word flash cards, the other for addition flash cards. They both lamented the idea that their child needed rote memorization work, but both also said the children were being graded on their academic performance, they had no choice.
I told them my stock story (which is true) about the pediatrician who told us the number of kindergartners with stomach problems was epidemic. They didn't doubt it, but told me over and over that they had no choice.
We do have a choice. Kindergartners should be studying fingerpainting, singing and playing Duck Duck Goose. We keep slipping farther behind the rest of the world in education. Other cultures don't insist on ruining childhood for the sake of bragging rights about who can read at the youngest age. It's a sad world we're building, and insisting we have no choice is pathetic.