Jeanette Deutermann Leads an All-Star Team for the Whole Child

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Earlier this year, as New York entered the testing season, Jeanette Deutermann posted some advice on the Facebook page of the Long Island Opt-Out group. A mother of two, at the epicenter of the state’s resistance movement, she addressed this question: what do we say to individuals who think it’s important for kids to take the test so that they learn not to back down from a challenge?

The steering committee of New York State Allies for Public Education, upon which Deutermann sits, had to get it right. This was no academic exercise: it went straight . . . Read full article →

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Test Nation II: NYC Opts Out

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“April is the cruelest month,” T.S. Eliot wrote in the opening canto of The Waste Land. The month in which America celebrates child abuse prevention.

Each spring, the English Language Arts, math, and science tests arrive, New York City’s third- to eighth-grade public school students busily filling in bubbles. As one parent told me a few years ago, her high-achieving, logical eight-year-old was reduced to tears upon returning to his classroom after spring break to what has become a torturous rite of passage. This, after enduring 45 minutes of test prep each morning since September.

Now . . . Read full article →

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Test Nation I: Parents Across America Unite

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This morning, succumbing to my raging digital addiction, I opened yet another email from Education Week. The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines this malady as a “process” condition—distinct from an obsession with activities such as shopping, eating, and doing drugs. A primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry, characterized by cravings, behavioral problems, and dysfunctional emotional responses.

“Testing … Testing … View the Top Stories On Assessment and Testing” was the subject—inspired by the beginning of the high-stakes season (for children, not horses). “Spring is here!” they crowed.

The magazine was . . . Read full article →

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Arne Duncan's Disruptive Innovation

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Americans love innovation. Such reverence we have for our start-up geniuses, rewarding them with vast fortunes and influence in matters beyond their ken.

Not for our babies. Developmental scientist Alison Gopnik refers to them as the “R&D department of the human species—the blue-sky guys, the brainstormers.” The role of adults: production and marketing. “Babies make the discoveries,” she has written, “and we implement them.” Yet we’re squashing this impulse so early.

This week, the Stanford Social Innovation Review posted to its digital edition an excerpt from “The Yin and Yang of Education Reform,” one . . . Read full article →

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