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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First-Grade Teacher Demands Moratorium on NY's P-2 ELA Standards

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Education policymakers in New York have continued to reckon with the fallout from implementation of the Common Core standards, which have ignited fierce opposition among parents, teachers, and administrators. In 2015, the state led the nation in test refusal. Twenty percent, or more than 200,000, third- through eighth-graders, sat out the annual standardized assessments—a number that increased this year.

Peter Rawitsch is certified in early childhood and has taught for 40 years. A first-grade teacher, from Delmar, New York, he was selected by the New York State Education Department to review the Prekindergarten through . . . Read full article →

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Will Whole-Child Champion Michael Hynes Go All the Way?

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On a Monday evening, as summer ended, the Patchogue-Medford school board on Long Island affirmed its support for superintendent Michael Hynes, extending his contract for five years. President Anthony O’Reilly, as Greater Patchogue reported, was “thrilled beyond belief.”

In the United States, local communities are the hubs of education policymaking. The sentiments of this school board president reflect a philosophical shift away from the cold, rational demands of standards-based accountability, a consensus that children are the top priority. Hynes believes in teaching to the whole child, O’Brien said. He understands that kids are individuals: . . . Read full article →

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Peter Rawitsch: Childhood Cannot be Standardized

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Just after school let out in June, an email arrived from Peter Rawitsch, a first-grade teacher, from Delmar, New York. Board-certified in early childhood, he has taught for 35 years. He had been selected by the New York State Department of Education to be one of 12 members of a committee to review the preK-2nd grade English Language Arts (ELA) standards.

Their task: to determine if the standards were developmentally appropriate for young children. As an advocate and critic, Rawitsch wanted to make sure that his core knowledge was current; to that end, he was conducting . . . Read full article →

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