Nanny Nanny Boo Boo on the Playground in the Age of Trump

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In this time of acute polarization, the adults hog most of the attention, filling the communal spaces with their discourse, much of it uncivil. Emotions are high. What happens when this filters down to our youngest students? Since the election of Donald Trump, Michelle Gunderson, carefully attuned to the shifting moods of her first graders, has been recording her observations. This essay originally appeared at Living in Dialogue.

A veteran teacher and a doctoral student at Loyola University in Curriculum and Instruction, Gunderson is Vice President for Elementary Schools at the Chicago Teachers Union.

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Denisha Jones on Early Childhood’s Lesson for School Choice

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With Betsy DeVos at the helm of the U.S. Department of Education, choice has ascended to the top of the policy agenda. Charter schools, vouchers, and other nonpublic options are proliferating—the grandchildren of free-market economist Milton Friedman, who viewed the elementary and secondary system as a monopoly in dire need of competition.

Staunch proponents of choice view it as a solution for the nation’s persistent opportunity gaps. Denisha Jones, a national advisor to Defending the Early Years, where this post originally appeared, highlights the inequities of America’s market-based early childhood system as a cautionary tale.

Jones is . . . Read full article →

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Angie Sullivan Takes on an Alt-Right Preschool Critic

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The United States is not known for its stellar record on preschool. We’re in the bottom half of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s “Starting Well Index,” which benchmarks 45 nations on the quality, availability, and affordability of preschool. This, in spite of a robust research base and growing consensus on the value of early education for children and society.

In The State of Preschool 2015, a yearbook published by the National Institute for Early Education Research, at Rutgers University, Nevada ranked 40 in access for four-year-olds and 39 in state spending.

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Michelle Gunderson on Teaching in the Time of Trump

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How are educators managing in these trying times? Reports from early childhood classrooms have been finding their way into Facebook posts. Many are filled with angst, and the heavy burden of explaining the unexplainable to the nation’s youngest students. Some offer moments of great transcendence—like the notes, below, from Michelle Gunderson.

A veteran first-grade teacher in the Chicago Public Schools and a doctoral student at Loyola University in Curriculum and Instruction, Gunderson is a leader in the Chicago Teachers Union, where she honors the expertise of early childhood teachers, fighting for their rights through sane policies that support . . . Read full article →

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