In this article I examine recent policy initiatives related to early childhood education that can be traced either directly to No Child Left Behind (NCLB) or to the emphasis on standards and accountability that produced NCLB, including the development of standards and assessments and moving the birth date for kindergarten eligibility to require children to be older when they enter school. I also discuss instructional and assessment issues that need to be considered if new pressures to teach academic skills in preschool beneﬁt rather than do harm to young children.
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) testing begins at third grade. The effects of the legislation are beginning to be felt in preschools because policy makers believe that an early start on developing academic skills will help children reach the standards they are expected to achieve in elementary school. They hope also that an early introduction to academics will reduce the gap in achievement between children from economically disadvantaged and more advantaged homes. Preschool teachers are accordingly
being pressured to begin teaching children the basic academic skills that are assessed under NCLB.