When All Else Fails, We Must Protect Childhood: A Call to Action from Denisha Jones

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Childhood is at risk in the United States. The Global Education Reform Movement, known by the apt acronym GERM, has infected our youngest and most vulnerable citizens, their needs shoved aside by those whose guiding light is profit.

Denisha Jones, an assistant professor of early childhood education at Trinity Washington University, has been active in the fight to stop the corporate takeover of public education since 2011. A board member of Defending the Early Years, the Badass Teachers Association, and United Opt Out National, she is also pursuing a law degree. This former kindergarten and preschool teacher, who . . . 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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We’re Not in Reggio Emilia Anymore: Kathy and Ro’s Translation Project

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Play, the primary engine of human development, is vanishing. Melvin Konner, an anthropologist and neuroscientist, regards it as the central paradox of evolutionary biology, combining great energy and risk for an activity that seems pointless.

But pointless it’s not. The positive emotions evoked by interactions, physical exercise, and mastery of skills in play spurs us toward novelty and more flexible learning—an exquisite means of developing our brains, social selves, and alleviating stress.

Sadly, recent education policies have squelched what all the smartest mammals do naturally. Literacy and numeracy, the prime foci of the Common Core, have . . . Read full article →

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Learning Together: Vygotsky and the Framers of American Democracy

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How can you resist a book that links Vygotsky’s theory of social constructivism with the Framers’ vision for American democracy? I couldn’t.

When I first looked at Learning Together: The Law, Politics, Economics, Pedagogy, and Neuroscience of Early Childhood Education, I nearly ran in the other direction. I’m married to a lawyer, and let’s just say that wordy, rationalist framework in which our daily interactions take place has its limitations. Written by three attorneys, Michael Kaufman, Sherelyn Kaufman, and Elizabeth Nelson, the book had an invisible red flag on the cover.

Still, I gingerly opened the . . . Read full article →

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