While reading instruction is mandated in public kindergartens, private schools have more flexibility to set their own curriculum. A recent New York Times article looks at differences in curricular pacing in early education at some of New York City’s elite private schools. Some schools favor a social emphasis in kindergarten, saving formal academic instruction until 1st grade.
If you’ve seen Race to Nowhere, you know where this story goes—the pressure to compete begins earlier, and programs that seem less rigorous are abandoned by certain parents. Honestly, does it matter if some elite schools start reading later? Rich parents will always be empowered to choose what they think is best for their kids. And their kids already have a huge advantage over low-socioeconomic-status peers applying to selective colleges, and in life in general.
Might students in public school benefit from a variety of curricular options in kindergarten, as well?