Will Bill de Blasio Exile Three-Year-Olds from Play?

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My family held a Passover Seder in London this year. A feast of liberation in a city governed by Sadiq Khan, the first Muslim to preside over a major Western capital. Our haggadah, the guiding text, affirmed our solidarity with refugees across the globe. The meal was leavened by savory Indian delicacies, mashed up and sampled by the 8-month-old infant at the table.

I loved this version of our annual spring rite: short and unorthodox—a much-needed gaze beyond the navels of our own tribe. But my mind wandered. I was worried about young children, exiled from play.

On . . . Read full article →

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Angie Sullivan Takes on an Alt-Right Preschool Critic

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The United States is not known for its stellar record on preschool. We’re in the bottom half of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s “Starting Well Index,” which benchmarks 45 nations on the quality, availability, and affordability of preschool. This, in spite of a robust research base and growing consensus on the value of early education for children and society.

In The State of Preschool 2015, a yearbook published by the National Institute for Early Education Research, at Rutgers University, Nevada ranked 40 in access for four-year-olds and 39 in state spending.

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What Do Preschoolers Really Need from Grownups? Ask Erika Christakis

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Suddenly, everyone’s weighing in on what young children need. From CEOs of tech startups to the titans of philanthropcapitalism, from economists to journalists and political pundits, early development and education have become a free-for-all, the province of those whose expertise lies elsewhere.

Enter, Erika Christakis, author of The Importance of Being Little. First, her credentials. She spent her undergraduate years at Harvard, and went on for advanced degrees at Johns Hopkins, the University of Pennsylvania, and Lesley University’s Graduate School of Education. Long affiliated with Yale, she has taught preschoolers along with college courses on child development and . . . Read full article →

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The Incredible Ridiculousness of Readiness

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The subject line was irresistible: “Early Childhood Pushes Up.” The Teachers College Record, a hotbed of radical critique, had delivered another gem to my inbox. Here was a scathing commentary on Obama’s “Cradle-to-Career” education policy.

“Wish you hadn’t moved to Australia,” I emailed Jeanne Marie Iorio, a senior lecturer at Victoria University, in Melbourne. She’s co-author of the aforementioned work, with Clifton Tanabe, who hasn’t left the United States, but offers perspective from the periphery, at the University of Hawaii, Manoa.

Their thesis is sound: School readiness, a state we so avidly seek, has created a chain . . . Read full article →

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