Ana Menéndez Mourns Her Four-Year-Old’s Childhood

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It’s come to this. Four-year-olds in our assessment-crazed land are waking up in the middle of the night whispering sums. They’re facing the rigor of the Common Core State Standards, squirming in little chairs, deprived of gold stars—the littlest victims of educational goals and grownup folly.

Ana Menéndez, the daughter of Cuban exiles, is a journalist who has covered conflict across the globe. The author of four books of fiction, including The Last War and Adios, Happy Homeland!, earlier this year, she took to the pages of the Miami Herald unwittingly entering a . . . Read full article →

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Ms. Rumphius on the Torture of Untimed Testing

Miss-Rumphius

In January, as New York’s State Education Department grappled with the burgeoning wrath of parents, commissioner MaryEllen Elia announced that several “major changes” were afoot for the high-stakes assessment regime. Among them was untimed testing.

Conceding the stress—on young children in particular—Elia offered her solution: “If they are working productively,” she noted, “then they will be able to continue the assessment.”

She was decidedly not making the world more beautiful, the life’s work of Miss Rumphius, the eponymous heroine of Barbara Cooney’s beloved book, first published by Viking in 1982. I read it often . . . Read full article →

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Test Nation II: NYC Opts Out

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“April is the cruelest month,” T.S. Eliot wrote in the opening canto of The Waste Land. The month in which America celebrates child abuse prevention.

Each spring, the English Language Arts, math, and science tests arrive, New York City’s third- to eighth-grade public school students busily filling in bubbles. As one parent told me a few years ago, her high-achieving, logical eight-year-old was reduced to tears upon returning to his classroom after spring break to what has become a torturous rite of passage. This, after enduring 45 minutes of test prep each morning since September.

Now . . . Read full article →

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Jamaal Bowman Says Yes to Whole-Child Education Reform

ECE PolicyWorks blog Jamaal Bowman

There’s been a change in the weather. I’m not referring to shorts, tee shirts, and cherry trees blossoming as the temperature hit 72 degrees on Christmas Eve in New York City. I’m talking about the climate of education reform.

The signs have been unmistakable, although most of us have been too mired in the muck to notice. The descriptor “social-emotional” kept turning up last year in Education Week, not known for its warm and fuzzy take on the process of teaching and learning. Why, a bunch of researchers—ever rationalist and utilitarian—had applied cost-benefit analysis to . . . Read full article →

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