Renée Dinnerstein's Call to Action: Opt Out!

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The landscape of kindergarten has drastically changed during the era of standards-based accountability and high-stakes testing. It is barely recognizable, having succumbed to the pressures of measurement gone berserk. Young children’s days are now jam-packed with reading, writing and math, as play, art, exploration, recess, and lunch are pushed to the margins.

Renée Dinnerstein, who has spent almost five decades as an early childhood educator, has been watching this phenomenon with alarm. In the piece, below, which originally appeared at her blog, and is reprinted here with her permission, she offers a critique and call to . . . Read full article →

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Bill de Blasio's Schools Chancellor is Leaving: Who will Restore the Joy to Early Ed?

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Not long before New York City’s public schools closed for winter break, Katie Lapham posted to Twitter a drab black-and-white photograph of a testing manual she had found in her mailbox, the imprimatur of Carmen Fariña in the upper left-hand corner. An elementary school teacher and long-time critic of education policy, Lapham felt sick. “We will continue to refuse the tests,” she wrote, with the hashtag #OptOut2018.

Within days of the delivery, Fariña confirmed that she was stepping down from her perch as chancellor—four years after Bill de Blasio had coaxed her out of retirement to . . . Read full article →

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High-Quality Early Learning According to Yvonne Smith

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No fewer than 8,9600,000 results for “high-quality early learning” appeared in .57 seconds, the time required by Google’s query processor to find the relevant web pages from the company’s database. How comforting to think one might get a handle on this phenomenon.

“What does high-quality early childhood education look like?” was the seventh entry on the first page when I last looked, the headline of an article by Mary Ellen Flannery, who tracks news and trends at the National Education Association. Julie Bullard, of the University of Montana-Western was her main source. She “knows it when she . . . 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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