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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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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Deborah Meier’s Stand on Central Park East I: A Crucible for Progressive Education

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In 1974, a small elementary school blossomed in East Harlem. The seeds were planted by Deborah Meier, renowned thinker, teacher, principal, education activist, and recipient of a McArthur “genius” award. Blessed by Anthony Alvarado, a forward-thinking superintendent in New York City, Central Park East I became a beacon of progressive, child-centered practice.

The school embodies Meier’s vision. “Democracy demands we acknowledge everyone’s inalienable capacity to be an inventor, dreamer, and theorist—to count in the larger scheme of things,” she wrote in The Power of Their Ideas. She warned us long ago about the dire . . . Read full article →

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Jillian Best Adler's Ode to Black Children

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“When you undermine the dreams of the children, you undermine the nation,” the Reverend William Barber II declared at the People’s March in Washington, DC, on July 8. Jillian Best Adler, mother and early childhood educator, is guarding those dreams.

A quality improvement coordinator at the Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children, she provides coaching and training at childcare centers and preschools in the Philadelphia region. With her sister, Alison, she presides over The Best Sisters: Tales of Caffeinated Parenting, a Facebook page aimed at destigmatizing the challenges of parenting young . . . Read full article →

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