Taking Back Accountability with Linda Darling-Hammond

Education reform in New York has reached an all-time low.

In the spring of 2012, as Andrew Cuomo moved into high gear, an email hit my inbox from Julie Diamond, the author of Kindergarten. The subject: letter by family that will be boycotting state testing. Addressed to “fellow parents of NYC public school students,” the epistle was signed by Jeff Nichols and Anne Stone, music professors at the City University of New York. Within minutes, I had forwarded the email to Linda Darling-Hammond. “For your work with our governor,” I wrote. “I will use this,” she shot back. . . . Read full article →

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Sophia Pappas: Sisyphus on a Pre-K Mission

Sophia Pappas is on a mission. I hadn’t seen her since last fall, and—maybe it’s the Jewish mother in me—I could have sworn I saw dark circles under her eyes in the photograph accompanying today’s Wall Street Journal piece about her “daunting job ahead.” At the helm of New York City’s Office of Early Childhood Education, this fiercely smart, capable woman, armed with with a degree from Harvard, a stint at Teach for America and a Newark preschool, as well as a book under her belt, is charged with getting the ECE workforce up to speed for Bill . . . Read full article →

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Chester Finn Scales the Unsavory Heights of Preschool Zealotry

At 11:16 last night, an email arrived from the National Institute of Early Education Research announcing the release of the 2013 State Preschool Yearbook. NIEER’s team, headed by Steve Barnett, has been meticulously collecting data on the status of our noble experiment across the land since 2003. This year’s lode comes courtesy of the National Center for Education Statistics, which delivers the nation’s “Report Card” and other information on the state of teaching and learning.

But right before the yearbook hit our screens, Chester E. Finn Jr. tried to head it off at . . . Read full article →

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Be the Change: Use Your Voices (Inside and Outside)

Yesterday, I heard a first-grade teacher cry. A 30-year-veteran, Patty Schultz is hanging on to play by a thread in the shadow of the Common Core Standards. “I don’t like myself as a teacher anymore,” she said. “My wisdom is not honored.”

Schultz works at the Cutchogue East Elementary School on the North Fork of Long Island, where kindergarten classrooms are the largest in the building; at 1,000 square feet, as principal Anne Smith proudly tells me, they trump a NYC studio apartment in size. The kids have a “backyard,” too—a broad expanse of green space, with a playground . . . Read full article →

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