NYC's Mayoral Race: A Referendum on Early Ed and the Evidence

Ever since President Obama uttered the words “universal preschool,” the wolves have been on the prowl. The Wall Street Journal has been among the fiercest agressors, weighing in, with great vitriol, on early education. But the paper’s latest salvo–an opinion piece by Red Jahncke–takes the cake, reflecting the jittery nerves of New York City’s business community in the wake of Bill de Blasio’s ascension to frontrunner in Gotham’s mayoral race.

President of the Townsend Group, a management consulting firm in Greenwich, Connecticut, Jahncke drips with disdain for “universal pre-kindergarten schooling, every progressive’s fondest . . . Read full article →

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Whatever Happened to Human Capital, James Surowiecki?

Last night, before turning off the lights, I read the following letter, in the latest New Yorker, from Michael Silverstein, in Los Angeles:

James Surowiecki asserts that Bill de Blasio’s plan for universal pre-K education “may be good social policy, but it’s not going to create jobs,” even though the addition of pre-kindergarten has clear positive implications for job creation and for the middle class (The Financial Page, September 23rd). My children’s preschool employs two full-time administrators, nine full-time teachers, and several part-time specialists, substitutes, and after-school-care staff members. Many of these jobs could be a gateway to . . . Read full article →

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Math Readiness through Music: In Rhythm with Children

As kindergarten readiness assessments sweep the nation, it’s useful to keep in mind the history of this Pandora’s Box. I stopped cold when I read the following paragraph, in a 2011 position paper from the Council of Chief State Officers:

The National Education Goals Panel stated that school readiness encompasses a range of child development domains, including (a) physical well-being and motor development, (b) social−emotional development, (c) approaches toward learning, (d) language and emergent literacy, and (e) cognitive skills, including mathematics. Moreover, children’s progress in these developmental domains is both independent and highly interrelated. Unfortunately, most kindergarten assessment . . . Read full article →

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Five-Year-Olds Filling in Bubbles: A School Opts Out

When we last reported on accountability run amok, I had just listened to a tale of woe from a New York City parent whose son was reduced to tears on the occasion of the English Language Arts (ELA) exam. I lamented this torturous rite of passage, of course, but we were talking about a third-grader. These days, five-year-olds are filling in bubbles—and they’re not at the water table. The Daily News got it right: “They don’t even know how to hold a pencil yet, but kindergartners are getting a taste of the tough side of . . . Read full article →

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