Education: Bringing College Prep to the Playground

The age-old query of, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” has met a fast contender. Recently, a inquiry just as common of toddlers has been, “Where do you want to go to college?” Thanks to a recent push by the Obama Administration and Common Core Standards, the prospect of being “college ready” is pervading our nation, and children have matriculation on their minds earlier than ever. Across the country, elementary schools are including college prep in their curriculum. Kindergarteners are faced with lists of steps to applying to universities. Some college campuses are offering college tours to students as young as fourth grade. And, as in the case of one classroom at Johnsonville Elementary School in rural Harnett County, N.C., many first graders have already chosen a school to set their sights on. In a writing assignment, the children were asked to share their choice; three listed West Point, one Harvard. Only time will tell if their ambition will reach fruition. It is hoped that pushing kids into the college race at these young ages will make our nation more competitive in meeting international educational standards. But, how early is too early?

Contributor: Catherine de Lacoste-Azizi

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