Renée Dinnerstein's Call to Action: Opt Out!

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The landscape of kindergarten has drastically changed during the era of standards-based accountability and high-stakes testing. It is barely recognizable, having succumbed to the pressures of measurement gone berserk. Young children’s days are now jam-packed with reading, writing and math, as play, art, exploration, recess, and lunch are pushed to the margins.

Renée Dinnerstein, who has spent almost five decades as an early childhood educator, has been watching this phenomenon with alarm. In the piece, below, which originally appeared at her blog, and is reprinted here with her permission, she offers a critique and call to . . . Read full article →

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Bill de Blasio's Schools Chancellor is Leaving: Who will Restore the Joy to Early Ed?

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Not long before New York City’s public schools closed for winter break, Katie Lapham posted to Twitter a drab black-and-white photograph of a testing manual she had found in her mailbox, the imprimatur of Carmen Fariña in the upper left-hand corner. An elementary school teacher and long-time critic of education policy, Lapham felt sick. “We will continue to refuse the tests,” she wrote, with the hashtag #OptOut2018.

Within days of the delivery, Fariña confirmed that she was stepping down from her perch as chancellor—four years after Bill de Blasio had coaxed her out of retirement to . . . 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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