Elementary students do not need college prep

Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2006

What’s next — SAT prep courses in utero? ‘‘MCPS to expand IB program” (Sept. 27 story) is yet another example of how the school system’s policymakers, administrators and hyper-competitive parents are making decisions with blatant disregard for the needs of children and the true value of education as a life-long experience of interacting with the world.

Elementary school students do not need college prep; they need developmentally responsive, engaging instruction that invites them to read a novel, conduct a science experiment or play a musical instrument for the sheer pleasure of learning.

The International Baccalaureate program inundates high school students (and now, apparently, preadolescents) with excessive homework, rigid course requirements and unwarranted academic pressure, with the ever-illusive concept of ‘‘college readiness” as the ultimate goal.

Expanding the IB program does not signify improved educational opportunities, rather, it demonstrates how MCPS — and school systems nationwide — are turning schools into factories to produce the next generation of economically viable robots.

Shaping a child’s entire life around the criteria on which he or she will be judged by college admissions counselors is disgraceful, even abusive.

Your kids will get into college. Let them become free-thinking, inquisitive, elective-taking individuals in the meantime.

Ginger Baran, Bethesda