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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New York’s Young Children are Thrown under the Bus

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On September 11th, the education committee of the New York Board of Regents approved the “Next Generation” standards for English Language Arts and mathematics.

Our youngest children have been thrown under the bus.

We are violating everything that is known, which is considerable, about how children develop and learn best. We are stealing their childhood, robbing them of play, the primary engine of human development.

We have empirical evidence that kindergarten has become the new first grade, and preschool the new kindergarten. Across the country, and in New York, we have relegated play to an hour a day . . . Read full article →

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Elusive Equity: Reeshemah Brightley’s Hard Questions for Bill de Blasio

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We talk ad nauseam about quality and equity in early care and education. How do we get there? The answers elude us, in spite of our good intentions, leaving young children in a precarious state. The list of our sins is long—and dispiriting. Childrearing has now achieved the status of luxury item in the United States. Education is seen as expenditure not investment. We tolerate child-poverty rates that put us to shame on the world’s social-justice index. The hard, essential work of caregiving and nurturing appear nowhere on the ledger sheets for our GDP.

For Reeshemah Brightley, who . . . Read full article →

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