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

Bianca School Bus

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?

escape-route

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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Andrew Gillum’s Campaign to Bring Home Play

Gillum-kissing-daughter

It’s not easy keeping up with the latest in education policy. I have to wade through lots of detritus in my inbox. And we haven’t even begun to talk about social media, to which, like other previously sentient beings, I have become addicted. I may have to check myself into one of China’s digital detox camps soon.

But I’m compelled to abide by that maxim, attributed, variously, to Sun Tzu, Machiavelli, and Michael Corleone in “The Godfather”— the one about keeping your friends close, and your enemies closer.

As a result, I field frequent emails from the Foundation for . . . Read full article →

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Susan DuFresne’s Model Agenda for the Early Childhood Resistance

Susan DuFresne2

Teachers across America are the casualties of education reform run amok. Their expertise is ignored, they’re evaluated via discredited metrics based on student test scores, and they’re expected to compensate for all manner of society’s ills. No wonder they’re quitting at record rates. But the ascent of Betsy DeVos has engendered a new spirit of activism, and reinvigorated those on the front lines of resistance.

Early childhood educators are relative newcomers to the action. Long marginalized as a workforce, most of those who teach our youngest children have been slow to raise their voices in public. Not Susan DuFresne.

. . . Read full article →

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