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Pushing Three-Year-Old Students to Learn before Kindergarten

The New York Times recently wrote an article about a new learning center called Kumon which is emerging on the horizon of U.S. education.  Kumon is similar to a Sylvan learning center as it gives students individualized sessions to meet their areas of need.  They also help school aged children (K-12) become more advanced in math and English skills.  Some controversy surrounds the learning center because they accept three-year-old students or any child “out of a diaper [that] can sit still with a Kumon instructor for 15 minutes”, states Joseph Nativo, the CFO for North America.  Many parents believe that a child that young should learn by exploring and playing instead of the drilling methods to learn letters and numbers that Kumon uses.  Kumon believes that learning basic skills increases children’s self esteem which leads to success in their learning.  To read more about this article, see the following links: http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/16/pushing-kids-in-public-and-private/ and http://www.nytimes.com/pages/education/index.html “Fast Tracking to Kindergarten”.

2 Responses to Pushing Three-Year-Old Students to Learn before Kindergarten

  • Ed Chan says:

    My sister has been a Kumon instructor for many years now. I have partly financed her center and helped her build and assist her in running her center for many years since the passing away of her husband, my brother-in-law. The income from the center has helped her raise her family as a single mom and put her kids through college.

    In my humble opinion, the relationship between the company and the franchisees has always been good. The company has been instructor friendly until certain misguided instructors Nicole Smith set up the IAKF and misled my sister among other franchisees.

    My sister, as with many of her fellow instructors has been constantly bombarded with factually incorrect and false information from the IAKF for many years. Unfortunately, if she speaks up against the IAKF in instructor circles she is admonished by elements of the IAKF within the area. I have advised my sister to stay away from this association. I truly believe that education of the students at her center is of primary focus. However, IAKF representatives within the area keep harassing her to arrange an activist meeting at her center. Even Area Managers of Kumon have informed us that the IAKF is a rogue organization that has been spreading lies and misinformation only to increase their membership. From my sister’s interaction with fellow instructors, rumors have come to her attention that the IAKF and its leadership aka Nicole Smith who are vocal militant members have been using membership dues for personal gain.

    Recently, I read an article where Robert Lichtenstein, corporate counsel for Kumon North America, based in Teaneck, New Jersey, calls the IAKF a “rogue” organization, and questions whether it has more than a handful of members. Kudos to Robert for rightly categorizing this organization and its leadership as “ROGUES.” The IAKF has brought nothing but shame and bad publicity to all Kumon instructors like my sister and has created a confrontational relationship with the franchisor. Thanks for listening. Xie Xie!!

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