High-Quality Early Learning According to Yvonne Smith

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No fewer than 8,9600,000 results for “high-quality early learning” appeared in .57 seconds, the time required by Google’s query processor to find the relevant web pages from the company’s database. How comforting to think one might get a handle on this phenomenon.

“What does high-quality early childhood education look like?” was the seventh entry on the first page when I last looked, the headline of an article by Mary Ellen Flannery, who tracks news and trends at the National Education Association. Julie Bullard, of the University of Montana-Western was her main source. She “knows it when she . . . Read full article →

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Renee Dinnerstein’s Revolution Grows in Brooklyn

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Last September, before school began, I made my way to the Brooklyn Historical Society for the launch of Renée Dinnerstein’s new book, Choice Time. At a time of standardized tests for five-year-olds, canned curriculum, didactic instruction, and the Common Core—in a city of deep inequality and segregation—this event was long overdue.

More than 200 teachers poured into the landmark Romanesque Revival building, now a center of urban history, civic dialogue, and community outreach. Many were left standing around the edges of the room, the air tense with expectancy. After a day of setting up their classrooms, they . . . Read full article →

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Will Whole-Child Champion Michael Hynes Go All the Way?

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On a Monday evening, as summer ended, the Patchogue-Medford school board on Long Island affirmed its support for superintendent Michael Hynes, extending his contract for five years. President Anthony O’Reilly, as Greater Patchogue reported, was “thrilled beyond belief.”

In the United States, local communities are the hubs of education policymaking. The sentiments of this school board president reflect a philosophical shift away from the cold, rational demands of standards-based accountability, a consensus that children are the top priority. Hynes believes in teaching to the whole child, O’Brien said. He understands that kids are individuals: . . . Read full article →

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Peter Rawitsch: Childhood Cannot be Standardized

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Just after school let out in June, an email arrived from Peter Rawitsch, a first-grade teacher, from Delmar, New York. Board-certified in early childhood, he has taught for 35 years. He had been selected by the New York State Department of Education to be one of 12 members of a committee to review the preK-2nd grade English Language Arts (ELA) standards.

Their task: to determine if the standards were developmentally appropriate for young children. As an advocate and critic, Rawitsch wanted to make sure that his core knowledge was current; to that end, he was conducting . . . Read full article →

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