Standards of Concern with Quotes from Referenced Resources in Minnesota’s Early Childhood Indicators of Progress

Karen R. Effrem, MD

EdAction –




“Communicate information using home language and/or English” (Pages 32 and 56)

 “Speak clearly enough to be understood in home language and/or English” (Pages 32 and 56)

Promotes bilingualism - “Administrative support for bilingualism as a goal is necessary within the educational setting.” (National Association for the Education of Young Children. (1996). Responding to linguistic and cultural diversity)



“Demonstrate increasing interest in and awareness of numbers and counting” (Pages 44 and 56)

“Demonstrate beginning ability to combine and separate numbers of objects” (Pages 44 and 56)

Promotes controversial integrated, “fuzzy” math – “Mathematics instruction should be guided by the …standards developed by the NCTM…According to NCTM, understanding [of math] develops through interaction … in settings where students have opportunities to construct their own relationships when they first meet a new topic.” (NAEYC Standards for Early Childhood Professional Preparation)


Emotional Development

“Demonstrate increasing competency in recognizing and describing own emotions” (Pages 14 and 55)

“Begin to understand and respond to others’ emotions” (Pages 14 and 55)

“Begin to show self-regulation to handle emotions appropriately” (Pages 14 and 55)

Vague and subjective standards that are very difficult to measure in young children.  Also, state determined norms for these may lead to politically motivated labeling


Self Concept

“Develop an awareness of self as having certain abilities, characteristics, and preferences” (Pages 16 and 55)

“Support children’s awareness of and pride in their cultural heritage (family)” (Page 15)


“Support children’s developing understanding of their gender and cultural identity (teacher)”  (Page 15)

Aside from vagueness and subjectivity, this gives more authority to teachers than to families to teach something as controversial as gender identity – “Make copies of an outline of a body as drawn by a preschooler, and in small groups ask children to fill in all the body parts, and to show if the person is a girl or boy;” or “Have anatomically correct dolls available…For example, tell a persona doll story where a few of the dolls ask questions about what makes them a boy or a girl” (Derman-Sparks, L. (1989). Anti-bias curriculum: Tools for empowering young children.

Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children, p. 53)

Social Competence and Relationships

“Begin to participate successfully as a member of a group” (Pages 18 and 55)

This promotes group identity and the common good instead of individual rights and responsibility and lead to much controversial content that is developmentally inappropriate - Definition of “Whites: All the different national ethnic groups of European origin who as a group are disproportionately represented in the control of the economic, political, and cultural institutions in the United States;” (Anti-Bias, p. 3) or “Kay sets up ... a 'witch-healer' table, where the children can make their own potions.” (Anti-bias p. 91)


Social Systems Understanding

“Participate in activities to help others in the community” (Pages 48 and 57)

This promotes using children to be involved in social activism.  It is not appropriate for the age and there is a large potential for forced volunteerism in programs that violate the rights and or conscience of child or family - “Young children have an impressive capacity for learning how to be activists.” (Anti- Bias, p. 77) See also, “The next generation of Berkeley peaceniks gathered on the steps of City Hall Tuesday to demonstrate their opposition to a pending war in Iraq- after school, of course. Armed with protest signs, microphones, and Harry Potter lunch-boxes, elementary and pre-school children demanded city leaders contact President Bush and halt his hawkish ‘war for oil.’” (Sexton, S. - 11/14/02)


“Share responsibility in taking care of their environment” (pages 48 and 57)

This promotes a completely inappropriate discussion of environmentalism at too young an age on issues that are quite controversial among scientists.


“Recognize and describe the roles of workers in the community”  (Pages 48 and 57)

Three year olds do not need to be focusing career issues at this stage in their lives.