Harriett Krein-Hart: A Bright Light on the Hudson

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When my firstborn was a toddler, his father and I began the search for child care. The project was daunting, the price tag exorbitant. To whom could we entrust our child? What were we looking for? Would we know the right program when we saw it? Would he be loved and treasured? The questions nagged at us as we moved through this agonizing rite of passage for the American parent.

We found Purple Circle, a parent cooperative established in 1972 on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Soon, we were part of the village it takes to raise a child. . . . Read full article →

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Bruce Fuller Weighs in, Again, on Pre-K for All: But Where Are the Real Experts?

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Bruce Fuller has weighed in—yet again—on universal preschool. He’s had a lot to say over the past few years, as Bill de Blasio, New York City’s mayor, has pursued a bold experiment to combat inequality in a “Tale of Two Cities.”

A professor at Berkeley’s graduate school of education, Fuller is well known for Standardized Childhood, his ten-year-old book that tackles the thorny questions of access and quality in early childhood education, while sticking it to proponents of preschool for all. “Institutional liberals in pursuit of political legitimacy and public dollars” he called them—marching down a dangerous path, well trodden

. . . Read full article →

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Bianca Tanis on New York State Ed’s Shakedown of Early Childhood

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At EngageNY, a website maintained by the state’s education department, there’s a timeline for the implementation of the Common Core standards. As you might expect from a bureaucracy, it is not current, stranding us at the 2014-15 school year. A footnote, in red type, announces an update on November 18, 2013, available in a PDF file for downloading. We’re assured that the curriculum, instruction, and assessments are rigorous, that they focus on priority knowledge—whatever that may be—and skills to ensure college- and career-readiness.

Missing from the timeline is the sturm und drang of the process. Bianca Tanis, a . . . Read full article →

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Will Bill de Blasio Exile Three-Year-Olds from Play?

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My family held a Passover Seder in London this year. A feast of liberation in a city governed by Sadiq Khan, the first Muslim to preside over a major Western capital. Our haggadah, the guiding text, affirmed our solidarity with refugees across the globe. The meal was leavened by savory Indian delicacies, mashed up and sampled by the 8-month-old infant at the table.

I loved this version of our annual spring rite: short and unorthodox—a much-needed gaze beyond the navels of our own tribe. But my mind wandered. I was worried about young children, exiled from play.

On . . . Read full article →

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