Susan DuFresne’s Model Agenda for the Early Childhood Resistance

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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.

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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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The Power of Their Voices: Early Childhood Teachers Talk School Reform

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A former preschool teacher carried the torch for democracy at the confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education. “The Senate should not be a rubber stamp,” Patty Murray said. “We owe it to the American people to put families and children first, not billionaires.”

Those were fighting words from the mild-mannered senator from Washington State, and senior Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee. Especially with Microsoft and Amazon among her top campaign contributors from 2011 to 2016. But as the results of our recent election attest, women’s ascent to power . . . Read full article →

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May the Circles be Unbroken

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Empathy is in short supply these days, with bigotry and bullying in ascendance. Teachers are alarmed by this phenomenon, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has dubbed the “Trump Effect.” M. Starita Boyce Ansari critiques our education system, which has banished experiential learning to the periphery of children’s lives. She offers us the model of giving circles, which meld responsiveness and altruism with community engagement, nurturing our students’ humanity.

Starita Boyce Ansari designs out-of-school programs for elementary through college students. She studies the economics of discrimination and education equity, equality and access, and she has co-authored two books on . . . Read full article →

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