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Boston Schools: Reformers Or Cradle Robbers?

One of the most urban and populated cities in America, Boston is subject to the dangers that come with this description. Boston Schools have worked desperately to protect impressionable students from negative situations. Not only do Boston Schools focus on after school activities to occupy the time of students, they have reformed the in-school experience as well. The curriculum shakedown and new academic standards in Boston Schools have transformed the situation of many inner city students. These reforms were enacted to provide all urban area students with better educational experiences. This is why Boston Schools are often hailed as models of urban reform.

The effort to captivate students is certainly admirable, but how much can a student tolerate, especially when the student in question is a toddler? There has been a recent announcement that Boston Schools will begin work on an initiative to jump-start the childhood learning programs around the city. There are many early childhood educational facilities in existence, but Boston Schools are working to strengthen the potential of each one. Earlier learning experiences are supposed to motivate students later in life. But there is a growing concern that children are losing the chance to be kids. Are the Boston Schools robbing cradles in their effort to maintain the wave of reform? Some say that this dedication is a prime example of how Boston Schools continue to better themselves and acknowledge the need for constant improvement.

The point is not that Boston Schools are devoted to reform – the point is who they are attempting to reform. Critics say you cannot be reformed until you have been formed. In the beginning it was first grade. Then there was kindergarten. Now there are multitudes of private pre-schools, some with annual tuitions too outrageous to believe. Boston Schools’ reform movement is an awesome effort and should in no way be abandoned. But perhaps a reconsideration of enthusiasm is in order. Since 2005, Boston Schools have invested 7.5 million dollars in improving pre-k programs. Is there a need to rush children into the chaotic river of organized education at such a young age? The basic idea at the core of the issue is a good one: get parents and children invested at an early age so that they will be prepared for a disciplined academic career with the Boston Schools.

But early childhood educators point out that not all learning comes from books and memorization. And for pre-schools much of it should come from play. The aggressive approach to reform that Boston Schools show has made many improvements to urban education in recent years. Yet many parents and educators question how much is too much.


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