When All Else Fails, We Must Protect Childhood: A Call to Action from Denisha Jones

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Childhood is at risk in the United States. The Global Education Reform Movement, known by the apt acronym GERM, has infected our youngest and most vulnerable citizens, their needs shoved aside by those whose guiding light is profit.

Denisha Jones, an assistant professor of early childhood education at Trinity Washington University, has been active in the fight to stop the corporate takeover of public education since 2011. A board member of Defending the Early Years, the Badass Teachers Association, and United Opt Out National, she is also pursuing a law degree. This former kindergarten and preschool teacher, who . . . 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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Revitalizing the Children’s Garden

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There’s a crisis in the American kindergarten. It’s become the new first grade—if not beyond. In April, more than 200 teachers descended on Bank Street College of Education in New York City to reaffirm the unique and vital role of kindergarten in children’s lives.

“Play is the highest expression of the child’s development,” Friedrich Froebel wrote in the Education of Man. We have to forgive the beloved founder of kindergarten for his lapse from gender neutrality, Cecilia Traugh, Bank Street’s dean of the graduate school, reminded the audience as the celebration began. He lived in the 18th and . . . Read full article →

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Renee Dinnerstein’s Revolution Grows in Brooklyn

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Last September, before school began, I made my way to the Brooklyn Historical Society for the launch of Renée Dinnerstein’s new book, Choice Time. At a time of standardized tests for five-year-olds, canned curriculum, didactic instruction, and the Common Core—in a city of deep inequality and segregation—this event was long overdue.

More than 200 teachers poured into the landmark Romanesque Revival building, now a center of urban history, civic dialogue, and community outreach. Many were left standing around the edges of the room, the air tense with expectancy. After a day of setting up their classrooms, they . . . Read full article →

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