I think a little healthy competition between students is a good thing. Take preparing for the SAT with a group: you all work together, but you secretly want to do better than everyone else, so you study longer than your partners, end up doing well on the test, and get into your dream school.
There is nothing wrong with that. Unless, of course, you are a preschooler.
This year, 10 percent more preschool students in New York City are qualify for gifted or advanced kindergarten programs than last year, according to the New York Times. This increase is credited to parent and child cooperation with a new admission process that includes an admission test.
Competition is tough to get into these gifted programs and many parents have hired tutors or used test preparation materials to prepare their children for the tests.
Over 12,000 students took this test last winter, and 3,542 students scored in the top 10 percent, nationwide. Another 1,788 students scored in the top 3 percent, nationwide. Unfortunately, even these impressive scores are not high enough for prestigious schools like the Anderson School on the Upper West Side.
Lena Lewiston is a preschooler who scored in the top 3 percent. Lena’s mother, Anna, was very upset to hear that Lena did not qualify for the school, which only accepts students who score in the 99th percentile.
“It’s really too much pressure for preschoolers,” Anna Lewiston said.
I agree with her. It’s ridiculous enough that middle school students are taking college entrance exams to help prepare them for college. I remember how stressed out I was when I had to take the ACT; imagine that pressure as a middle school student, or even worse, as a preschooler. It seems to take the fun out of childhood and replace it with unnecessary stress, cramming for exams, and studying skills that students do not really need to learn until they are a bit older.