Susan DuFresne’s Model Agenda for the Early Childhood Resistance

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Teachers across America are the casualties of education reform run amok. Their expertise is ignored, they’re evaluated via discredited metrics based on student test scores, and they’re expected to compensate for all manner of society’s ills. No wonder they’re quitting at record rates. But the ascent of Betsy DeVos has engendered a new spirit of activism, and reinvigorated those on the front lines of resistance.

Early childhood educators are relative newcomers to the action. Long marginalized as a workforce, most of those who teach our youngest children have been slow to raise their voices in public. Not Susan DuFresne.

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We’re Not in Reggio Emilia Anymore: Kathy and Ro’s Translation Project

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Play, the primary engine of human development, is vanishing. Melvin Konner, an anthropologist and neuroscientist, regards it as the central paradox of evolutionary biology, combining great energy and risk for an activity that seems pointless.

But pointless it’s not. The positive emotions evoked by interactions, physical exercise, and mastery of skills in play spurs us toward novelty and more flexible learning—an exquisite means of developing our brains, social selves, and alleviating stress.

Sadly, recent education policies have squelched what all the smartest mammals do naturally. Literacy and numeracy, the prime foci of the Common Core, have . . . Read full article →

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Personalized Learning for All Youth: A Denisha Jones Invention

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As the guardians of child development lament the state of play in early education—the loss of a human kind of learning—technology companies are sprouting like weeds, choking the garden. They’ve constructed a narrative of competency-based education, one they claim meets students’ individual needs.

Denisha Jones, an assistant professor of early childhood education at Howard University, and advisor to Defending the Early Years, a nonprofit advocacy group, is not persuaded by their arguments. This former kindergarten and preschool teacher, who is fiercely committed to social justice, equity, and the best interests of the child, is determined to . . . Read full article →

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