Education: Getting Off to a Quick Start

Earlier and more rigorous schooling touches off a debate

Kindergarten used to be a playground. Then it became a training ground. Now it may become a battleground. In Los Angeles, kindergarten teachers are assigning homework. In Minneapolis, "competency tests" help decide which tots advance to the first grade. A full day of classes has become the rule for all New York City kindergartens. But in neighboring Connecticut, an outcry helped to defeat statewide full-day legislation, and more protests are being heard across the country as pressure grows for tougher early schooling.

It all began when the baby boomers put forth their own modest...

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