The District Six Kindergarten Audit was conducted in only 4 days in April, 2006. Who did this audit? It was not an independent audit; not that the report ever claimed it to be.
It certainly was not done under guidelines of the National Association for the Education of Young Children which has the developmental needs of children at heart!! This organization advocates for true quality education that fosters curiosity and imagination; the very foundations of effective learning! Early Childhood experts understand how important play is for the overall development of children, but no such experts were involved in the District Six audit!
Instead it was done by four women whose credentials are not listed in the report. Three had a background in literacy and two of them had been involved with Colorado Reading First!! This is the program forced onto low performing schools or districts. Title I federal grant money can only be received as long as they use a literacy program that is "research-based", such as the Houghton Mifflin version now in use in all District Six elementary schools.
Carolyn White Wallisch - appointed by past Governor Bill Owens to serve on two committees that are part of the national “Leave No Child Behind” Act. She served on the “Read to Achieve” and “Reading First” committees.
Lynn Kuhn - Former Colorado Reading First Professional Development Coordinator
Nancy Devine - Colorado Reading First Coaching Coordinator. She is also a trainer of LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling); a program developed by Dr. Louisa Moats and published by Sopris West. Not surprisingly it entails each component of reading instruction - phoneme awareness, decoding, spelling and word study; oral language development; vocabulary; reading fluency; comprehension; and writing - as well as the foundational concepts that link them.
Debra Lee - I could not find information about her.
"..kindergarten students have recess and snack for over 30 minutes of their day (17% of all available time) with an additional 35-45 minutes designated for a visit to the library where children spend time looking around and checking out books to take back to the classroom, followed by a read aloud."
- Interestingly, being read to is precisely what reading experts say will entice children to enjoy reading and become good at it! In 1983, the U.S. Commission on Reading after studying 10.000 research reports, concluded that "The single most important activity for building knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children"
- In The Power of Reading - Insights from the research, author Stephen Krashen argues that only through lots of exposure to various reading materials that readers themselves choose and enjoy will they become better at it. Yet, kids in Greeley public schools may not even choose their own books and there are hardly any books to choose from in the classrooms!
The audit also stated:
"The use of centers in kindergarten classes was commonly observed. Center work frequently consisted of seemingly random activities that may or may not have been directly tied to the attainment of essential kindergarten skills in literacy or math. A number of low level tasks (using cookie cutters to cut out shapes and letters from clay, playing with dolls and toys, coloring or completing worksheets) were observed in centers."