Date of Award


Document Type

Non Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education




Early Childhood Education

Capstone Instructor

Lynn Gehrke

Second Reader

Carmen Cook


No Child Left Behind, education reform, standardized education


Current educational refonn initiatives under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) have pushed down formal academics to young children Pressure to perform on state mandated high-stakes tests and a framework for reading instruction promoted by the National Reading Panel and Reading First are creating an atmosphere where content once reserved for first grade is now being taught in Kindergarten (Elkind, 1988). A focus on high-stakes testing is creating an imbalanced curriculum in many classrooms as teachers struggle to avoid federally instituted sanctions and public censure. The majority of instructional time in Kindergarten and primary grades is being dedicated to the basics: reading, writing and arithmetic, delivered through teacher directed learning activities. As a result, Kindergarten students are experiencing few hands-on activities or activities that support self-efficacy. The very population targeted by NCLB is at risk of developing reading difficulties after third grade and young children are being pushed harder and faster in a traditional educational environment. Ultimately, this paper encourages the consideration of best practice for teaching young children to increase academic achievement with the added benefit of appropriate emotional and social development.


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