"Under the Common Core State Standards, kindergartners will be challenged by new and higher expectations."
They're five years old! Some aren't ready for all-day kindergarten yet. Why do we keep expecting little kids to do more and more and more?
"Focusing on early reading and language development is important, but in half-day kindergarten—which rarely lasts longer than three hours a day—that reading block would leave only about 90 minutes each day for deep learning in mathematics, science, social studies, and the arts, not to mention time for physical activity and socializing, which are so important to kindergartners' development."
Good grief. They're not programmable robots.
"How many American children are in half-day kindergarten? It's nearly impossible to know because states are not required to keep track, and decisions about kindergarten have been left to local districts in most places."
The horror. The horror!! And in some cases, maybe even individual parents will want the right to decide how much school their child is ready for. Can we trust them to make such a complex and crucial decision? (I realize that many people will say no. We can't trust the parents.)
"The common-core standards provide a clear, consistent, and challenging framework for what children should know and be able to do in math and reading."
Then the common-core standards are wrong for young children. Adults should meet the needs of children; we shouldn't be expecting them to meet our needs -- our expectations of academic prowess, our need to control their little brains, our need to accelerate their learning beyond their ability, our need to measure "teaching outcomes" to justify money spent, to feed our economic system, to allay our fears.
"To help children reach the high expectations and have a well-rounded kindergarten experience, states should fund a full day of kindergarten and require school districts to provide it."
No. To give children a solid foundation from which to grow, states should fund safe spaces for children to play and learn at their own natural rate, not at ever-accelerated rates dictated by unrealistic standards and expectations. If there's a mismatch between what some children need or what some communities decide to pay for -- such as half-day instead of full-day kindergarten -- and the common core standards, then change the standards. If it's a choice between stressing the child and relaxing the standards, then relax the standards.