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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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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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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Jeanette Deutermann Leads an All-Star Team for the Whole Child

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Earlier this year, as New York entered the testing season, Jeanette Deutermann posted some advice on the Facebook page of the Long Island Opt-Out group. A mother of two, at the epicenter of the state’s resistance movement, she addressed this question: what do we say to individuals who think it’s important for kids to take the test so that they learn not to back down from a challenge?

The steering committee of New York State Allies for Public Education, upon which Deutermann sits, had to get it right. This was no academic exercise: it went straight . . . Read full article →

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