Susan DuFresne Takes a Look at Her Lego Collection

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Legos have been beloved staples of early childhood for decades. The corporation that makes them recently closed a search for a professor of play at Cambridge, a position covered by a $5 million endowment to the university. Also included in the gift is a research center dedicated to this primary engine of human development.

Susan DuFresne is a kindergarten teacher in Washington State, where a former Microsoft executive is director of the Department of Early Learning. She has given a new face to early childhood activism, raising her impassioned voice for social justice and educational equity . . . Read full article →

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A Kindergartner Reserves a Space for #OptOut2020

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Welcome to the season of testing, our vernal blood sport. Uploading the schedule took forever. It must have been the server of the New York State Education Department, sclerotic as the bureaucracy itself. But there it was, a memo signed by Deputy Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green. An exam for every public school student on the “education” spectrum—if one could dignify it as such—from third through eighth grade.

Action has intensified in recent weeks. New York State Allies for Public Education, which has long guided parents in the process of refusal, expressed outrage at a toolkit sent to . . . Read full article →

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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.

. . . Read full article →

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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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