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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A Kindergartner Reserves a Space for #OptOut2020

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Welcome to the season of testing, our vernal blood sport. Uploading the schedule took forever. It must have been the server of the New York State Education Department, sclerotic as the bureaucracy itself. But there it was, a memo signed by Deputy Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green. An exam for every public school student on the “education” spectrum—if one could dignify it as such—from third through eighth grade.

Action has intensified in recent weeks. New York State Allies for Public Education, which has long guided parents in the process of refusal, expressed outrage at a toolkit sent to . . . Read full article →

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Kaliris Salas-Ramirez: A Neuroscientist for Democracy, Racial Equity, and Progressive Education

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America’s education policies are tearing at the fabric of progressive practice. Nowhere is this phenomenon more damaging than in the earliest years. The kind of schooling that nurtures higher order thinking, curiosity, imagination, and innovation, critical skills for our complex 21st-century world, has become a province of the privileged—a rare species, especially in underserved communities of color.

Kaliris Salas-Ramirez is fighting for her biracial son’s progressive education at Central Park East I, in East Harlem. The brainchild of Deborah Meier, who describes play as “self-initiated cognitive activity,” CPE I is now a battleground for democracy, pitting parents . . . Read full article →

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Jamila Carter Weighs in on No-Excuses Discipline

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Strict discipline, leavened with love and support, has long had its proponents among parents and the teaching corps of color. In an ethnographic study, published in the journal of Urban Education a decade ago, Dr. Franita Ware mourned the loss of this historical model, profiling two practitioners of “warm- demander” pedagogy, rooted in an ethic of caring and responsiveness.

But the “tough-minded, no-nonsense, structured and disciplined classroom environment” that Ware described has gone terribly awry, sparking a movement of “no-excuses” discipline in underserved urban school districts that has imposed strict control, demeaned parents, and silenced children’s . . . Read full article →

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