Cramming for kindergarten

By Theresa Heim



Salon Staff
September 8, 2000 11:34PM (UTC)

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I was absolutely appalled -- but not particularly surprised -- to read about the horrifying way that high-status parents program their kids for "success." As the mother of a preschooler and a first-grader, I can't imagine subjecting my children to the kind of forced tutoring described in this article. Then again, I am old-fashioned enough to look upon my children as individuals, not as accessories to my career success (or lack thereof).

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While I'm sure that these parents only want the best for their children, they are apparently acting to further their own interests instead of their children's. Heim may consider herself to be the child's advocate in this crazy process, and I'm sure that she ameliorates the worst excesses of the frenzied parents she works for. But she's still an accessory to taking away these kids' childhoods.

-- Nancy Ott

Go to any public school. Preferably, go to a top-rated public school and compare that learning environment to almost any private or parochial school. This comparison will explain parents' desperation to get their children into private schools. Sure, there are "gourmet parents" who seek private schools for status only, but their numbers are far fewer than Heim would have us believe.

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Given her obvious bias for public schools, it is no surprise that she has disdain for her pupils and their parents.

-- Caroline Muir

I live in Rutherford County, Tenn. My child goes to a public school. He is now in first grade. He was required to pass a test to enter kindergarten -- this is no choice of my own. Luckily I enrolled him in preschool or he wouldn't have made it, because I wouldn't have any idea of what the system expected. Like I said, he is in first grade now and I looked in his math workbook and saw pre-algebra studies. Pre-algebra was in middle school for me.

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My opinion: I hate it, kids should be kids. (Fortunately his first-grade teacher doesn't send homework the way his kindergarten teacher did. We had no time to spend having fun together; instead I was reading and teaching him.) However, as much as I hate it, I know it is a necessity to enroll my children in preschool and teach them before entering. The rest of their school life and career life is at stake whether I like it or not.

It isn't just a big-city problem, it's everywhere.

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-- Sara Storey


Salon Staff

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