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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Paul Tough’s Hard Work of Helping Children Succeed

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In the acknowledgments of Helping Children Succeed, Paul Tough’s latest ruminations on same, the best-selling author concedes that he had originally thought of the slim 125-page book as nothing more than an online report. His literary agent disabused him of that notion, visions of new readers dancing in his head.

Tough’s earlier book, How Children Succeed, a prequel to his latest tome, hit the zeitgeist in 2012, its subtitle “Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character” ever so tantalizing. A contributing writer to the New York Times magazine and This American Life, he set forth . . . Read full article →

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Michelle Gunderson Champions Play as an Organizing Principle

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“There once was a union maid, who never was afraid,” wrote Woodie Guthrie, the son of an industrialist who grew up to chronicle, in song, the suffering of the Great Depression. Michelle Gunderson is her descendant.

A veteran first-grade teacher in the Chicago Public Schools and a doctoral student at Loyola University in Curriculum and Instruction, she honors the expertise of early childhood educators, fighting for play and policies that support best practice through “good, old-fashioned union organizing.” This essay originally appeared at Living in Dialogue.

 

By Michelle Gunderson

The children in . . . Read full article →

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Enough Already with the Word Gap, Says Amy Rothschild

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I’ve been worried about the “word gap.” The 30-million vocabulary “deficit” discovered in low-income children by psychologists Betty Hart and Todd Risley in 1995. I’m concerned about the hidden curriculum.

“Deficit’ is the operative term. In an article published in the Teachers College Record a few years ago, researchers Sylvia Martinez and John Rury take us on a tour of the terms “culturally deprived” and “disadvantaged,” from 1960 through 1985, noting how they engendered controversy as frustration with educational change grew. They report on a group of sociologists at the University of Chicago, who convened a meeting to . . . Read full article →

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