Saturday, September 17, 2011

Early academic instruction 'can do lasting harm'

"Preschool children don't need academic instruction," Suzanne Venker and Phyllis Schlafly write in their new book The Flipside of Feminism: What Conservative Women Know -- and Men Can't Say.

In fact, a significant body of research shows that formal early education can actually be detrimental to children. David Elkind, professor of child development at Tufts University and author of numerous books on cognitive and social development in children and adolescents, explains that children who receive academic instruction too early are often put at risk but have no apparent gain. By attempting to teach the right things at the wrong time, early instruction can permanently damage a child's self-esteem, reduce a child's natural eagerness to learn, and block a child's natural gifts and talents. 'There is no evidence that such early instruction has lasting benefits, and considerable evidence that it can do lasting harm. ... If we do not wake up to the potential danger of these harmful practices, we may do serious damage to a large segment of the next generation,' he wrote.

It's time to empower Oklahoma parents with choices -- choices we already know they want.

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