I don’t know who you blame for this, parents, schools, the political climate, or a combination.
In the last decade, the earliest years of schooling have become less like a trip to “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” and more like SAT prep. Thirty years ago first grade was for learning how to read. Now, reading lessons start in kindergarten and kids who don’t crack the code by the middle of the first grade get extra help. Instead of story time, finger painting, tracing letters and snack, first graders are spending hours doing math work sheets and sounding out words in reading groups. In some places, recess, music, art and even social studies are being replaced by writing exercises and spelling quizzes. Kids as young as 6 are tested, and tested again–some every 10 days or so–to ensure they’re making sufficient progress. After school, there’s homework, and for some, educational videos, more workbooks and tutoring, to help give them an edge.
Unfortunately, we already do a pretty good job of wringing any pleasure from the learning process by the time students reach high school.
I guess someone thinks we need to begin the transformation earlier.