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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Susan DuFresne’s Opt Out Bus: Riding for Schools that Children Love

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This summer, Susan DuFresne boarded the Opt Out Bus, with her husband, Shawn, to bring books to America’s children. She’s been recording what she found on her Facebook page, which contains this disclaimer: “The views I express on this wall are my own and do not reflect the views of my employer. #FreeSpeech.”

A kindergarten teacher in Washington State, where a former Microsoft executive is director of the Department of Early Learning, she has given a new face to early childhood activism, raising her impassioned voice for social justice and educational equity.

In New Mexico, one . . . 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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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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