Alison Gopnik's article at Slate.com hits at the heart of why American education is failing our kids. Not only does it address the detrimental effects of excessive "schooling", but it makes it clear that standardized testing is hardly and effective gauge of intelligence. When you take these studies combined with other warnings, like the one released by the American Academy of Pediatrics, you start to get a more complete picture of what really ails our kids.
In the Slate.com article, "Why Preschool Shouldn't Be Like School", new research shows that teaching kids more and more, at ever-younger ages, may backfire. The article focuses on how "direct instruction" may be effective at teaching skills and facts but is inadequate for fostering curiosity and creativity that are more important in the long run. The article is just another case where we hear evidence that the "experts" are changing their minds about what is best for kids, fortuneately it is in the direction of what parents have suspected all along.
In the American Academy of Pediatric report another set of experts warn parents of the relationship between increased depression and anxiety in children and the lack of the simple childhood pleasure of play. The report states that "the national trend, to focus on the academic fundamentals of reading and arithmetic, spearheaded by No Child Left Behind, has decreased time left during the school day for recess, creative arts, and physical education." Compound that with extended hours in after-school programs that emphasize academics, the hours of unsupervised video gaming and constant T.V. and you have a recipe for a nation that cannot create, work, or think.
We are told by education "experts" that our kids need this hyper-schooling or they will be unable to "compete" in the "global market place". Funding for birth to the grave "schooling" is ever increasing with the promise of preserving America's economic dominance. Whether reluctantly or passively, the majority of parents have gone along with the trend pushed by these "expert" opinions, believing that American kids are falling behind the rest of the world and that the tests were proof of it.
Slate.com questions the status quo, "How do you measure learning, anyway? Almost by definition, directed teaching will make children do better on standardized tests, which the government uses to evaluate school performance. Curiosity and creativity are harder to measure."