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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Susan DuFresne’s Opt Out Bus: Riding for Schools that Children Love

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This summer, Susan DuFresne boarded the Opt Out Bus, with her husband, Shawn, to bring books to America’s children. She’s been recording what she found on her Facebook page, which contains this disclaimer: “The views I express on this wall are my own and do not reflect the views of my employer. #FreeSpeech.”

A kindergarten teacher in Washington State, where a former Microsoft executive is director of the Department of Early Learning, she has given a new face to early childhood activism, raising her impassioned voice for social justice and educational equity.

In New Mexico, one . . . Read full article →

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Jamila Carter Weighs in on No-Excuses Discipline

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Strict discipline, leavened with love and support, has long had its proponents among parents and the teaching corps of color. In an ethnographic study, published in the journal of Urban Education a decade ago, Dr. Franita Ware mourned the loss of this historical model, profiling two practitioners of “warm- demander” pedagogy, rooted in an ethic of caring and responsiveness.

But the “tough-minded, no-nonsense, structured and disciplined classroom environment” that Ware described has gone terribly awry, sparking a movement of “no-excuses” discipline in underserved urban school districts that has imposed strict control, demeaned parents, and silenced children’s . . . Read full article →

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