What Do Preschoolers Really Need from Grownups? Ask Erika Christakis

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Suddenly, everyone’s weighing in on what young children need. From CEOs of tech startups to the titans of philanthropcapitalism, from economists to journalists and political pundits, early development and education have become a free-for-all, the province of those whose expertise lies elsewhere.

Enter, Erika Christakis, author of The Importance of Being Little. First, her credentials. She spent her undergraduate years at Harvard, and went on for advanced degrees at Johns Hopkins, the University of Pennsylvania, and Lesley University’s Graduate School of Education. Long affiliated with Yale, she has taught preschoolers along with college courses on child development and . . . Read full article →

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The Incredible Ridiculousness of Readiness

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The subject line was irresistible: “Early Childhood Pushes Up.” The Teachers College Record, a hotbed of radical critique, had delivered another gem to my inbox. Here was a scathing commentary on Obama’s “Cradle-to-Career” education policy.

“Wish you hadn’t moved to Australia,” I emailed Jeanne Marie Iorio, a senior lecturer at Victoria University, in Melbourne. She’s co-author of the aforementioned work, with Clifton Tanabe, who hasn’t left the United States, but offers perspective from the periphery, at the University of Hawaii, Manoa.

Their thesis is sound: School readiness, a state we so avidly seek, has created a chain . . . Read full article →

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Nancy Bailey’s Delicious Recipe for Reading

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Parents have always taken pride in their offspring’s precociousness, a tendency against which Jean-Jacques Rousseau railed in Emile, the bible of the “New Education,” published in mid-18th-century France. The Enlightenment philosopher introduced formal reading at the advanced age of 12. Mon Dieu!

We’ve come a long way, baby—helped by the likes of Grover J. “Russ” Whitehurst, a proponent of dialogic reading, as well as education policies that have run roughshod over children, squashing their innate curiosity and zest for learning.

Nancy Bailey, author of the book Misguided Education Reform, is a veteran teacher who left the . . . Read full article →

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Segregation: The Achilles' Heel of Bill de Blasio's Pre-K Initiative

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September 9th marks the first birthday of Bill de Blasio’s universal preschool initiative, a cornerstone of his agenda to combat inequality. On this day the largest and most segregated school district in the nation will greet its children.

Segregation is hardly a new phenomenon in New York City. It’s been going on for a long time, condemning our most vulnerable children to educational exile. But last year, the red flag flew all the way across the country from UCLA’s Civil Rights Project, which released a damning report on inequality in the Empire State.

Predicting . . . Read full article →

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