Kenya Dilday’s Choice: Her Black Child Matters at Central Park East 1

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Another S.O.S. from Harlem’s Central Park East 1 elementary school floated amid the deluge of my inbox yesterday. “Save CPE1” was the subject line.

This April, before the annual round of high-stakes testing, a petition began circulating in support of this home of progressive, child-centered practice. Here, the opt-out rate in 2015 was 81 percent. CPE 1 was founded in 1974 by Deborah Meier, writer, teacher, principal, and education activist—one of several created in East Harlem under the guidance of Anthony Alvarado, a forward-thinking superintendent of District 4, in the nation’s largest school system.

The . . . Read full article →

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A NYC Teacher Breaks the Silence on the Power of Play

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Play is the sine qua non of early childhood education. “It has long been noticed that the smartest mammals—primates, cetaceans, elephants, and carnivores—are the most playful,” anthropologist and neuroscientist Melvin Konner wrote in his epic work, The Evolution of Childhood.

Yet we continue to ignore the evidence. We’re stealing it from the classrooms of young children as young as four. A trio of studies conducted in low-income, community-based child care centers over two decades, book-ended by the publication of A Nation at Risk, in 1983, and the enactment of No Child Left Behind, found . . . Read full article →

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Sending an S.O.S from a Small School in Harlem

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As the season of high-stakes testing got underway, winter’s chill unabated, a petition began to circulate, a flower of democracy. “Save Central Park East 1 Elementary School!” it read.

The school, founded in 1974, is the brainchild of Deborah Meier, beloved writer, teacher, principal, and education activist—one of several created in East Harlem, with the blessing of Anthony Alvarado, a forward-thinking superintendent of District 4 in New York City. A guiding light of the small-schools movement, she snagged a MacArthur “genius” award for her vision.

For parents in New York City, Central Park East 1 has been . . . Read full article →

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Ms. Rumphius on the Torture of Untimed Testing

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In January, as New York’s State Education Department grappled with the burgeoning wrath of parents, commissioner MaryEllen Elia announced that several “major changes” were afoot for the high-stakes assessment regime. Among them was untimed testing.

Conceding the stress—on young children in particular—Elia offered her solution: “If they are working productively,” she noted, “then they will be able to continue the assessment.”

She was decidedly not making the world more beautiful, the life’s work of Miss Rumphius, the eponymous heroine of Barbara Cooney’s beloved book, first published by Viking in 1982. I read it often . . . Read full article →

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