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WENDY LOCKER: NOTHING ABSTRACT ABOUT THE LESSONS OF PLAY

6/10/2017

Read Wendy Locker’s insightful article, as posted in the Stamford Advocate, at  http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Wendy-Lecker-Nothing-abstract-about-the-lessons-11208722.php

WHY PLAY IS VITAL IN PRESCHOOL: DEY’S RESPONSE TO THE NEW YORK TIMES REPORT SUPPORTING FLASH CARDS OVER FREE PLAY

6/6/2017

DEY Senior Advisor and Wheelock College professor, Dr. Diane Levin, writes DEY’s response:

At Defending the Early Years (DEY; www.thedeyproject.com) we work to promote appropriate educational practice in early childhood. Dana Goldstein’s May 30th article, “Free Play or Flashcards? New Study Nods to More Rigorous Preschools” (NY Times, 5/30/17) no longer solely left us puzzled however raised various vital questions.

Should a learn about that observed a 2½-month acquire in educational capabilities when taught in preschool have an impact on early childhood coverage and practice? How can one argue for giving up massive chunks of playtime for tutorial instructing to make such minimal positive factors in tutorial performance—with little consideration of what different areas would possibly have misplaced out due to the fact of the center of attention on tutorial skills?  Studies of Head Start packages that taught tutorial competencies to preschoolers in the 1960’s and 1970’s observed that positive factors made in educational overall performance over youth in greater play-based Head Start applications have been usually long past via 2d grade (i.e., “fade-out effect,” as noted in the article).  Furthermore, lookup in many European countries, which do now not begin formal analyzing coaching till age seven, suggests that beginning formal educating of studying before has little benefit.

Play-based early childhood packages are all-too-often misunderstood.  Just having performed in a preschool is now not enough, as  all play is not the same.  When a child dabbles from one activity to another, tries out one material and then the next, and/or does the same activity day-after-day, this is not quality play or, necessarily, even play.  And, even when a child does become more fully engaged in an activity that develops over time and is meaningful play, teachers have a vital role in facilitating the play to help the child take it further.  The teacher also makes decisions about how to integrate more formal early literacy and math skills into the play—for instance, by helping a child dictate stories about his painting and pointing out some of the keywords and letters involved, etc.   The teacher can then help the child “read” the story at a class meeting.  With block building, the teacher and child might discuss shapes, as she tries to find the right shape for her structure.

This variety of intentional teacher-facilitated getting to know via play contributes to the many foundational competencies kids want for later college success, such as self-regulation, social skills, creativity, authentic thinking, oral language development, eye-hand coordination, pre-literacy and math skills, and nice attitudes towards problem-solving.  And, in the lengthy run, these foundational competencies are a lot greater vital for how adolescents will sense about and operate later in college than the 2½ months reap they may acquire from the early ability practise acquired in preschool, as said in the  New York Times article.

Rather than debating over free play versus flashcards, possibly we ought to be asking the greater questions:

  1. Why are years of lookup on the advantages of nice play in preschool applications so regularly ignored?
  2. Why is it assumed that educational abilities are so vital to emphasize in preschool instead than a center of attention on the improvement of the “whole child” and foundational competencies that put together young people for college success in the later years?
  3. Why are play and studying so regularly handled as if they are  dichotomous, as they seem to be in this report?

NETWORK FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION RELEASES ITS NPE TOOLKIT: SCHOOL PRIVATIZATION EXPLAINED

4/26/2017

This comprehensive toolkit will answer questions about charter schools and school privatization.

HIGH SCHOOL SHOULD BE MORE LIKE PRESCHOOL

4/8/2017

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Secondary education is now borrowing ideas from early childhood. Published April 7, 2017, in The Hechinger Report, read the full article here.

KINDERGARTEN READINESS ASSESSMENTS

4/4/2017

DON’T USE KINDERGARTEN READINESS ASSESSMENTS FOR ACCOUNTABILITY

More than forty states both have or are in the procedure of growing Kindergarten Readiness Assessments (KRA), a device to measure children’s readiness for kindergarten. While KRAs have countless advantages for instructing and learning, the outcomes can additionally be used inappropriately, in accordance to a current Ounce of Prevention Fund report, “ Uses and Misuses of Kindergarten Readiness Assessments.
Read the entire article here.

STOP HUMILIATING TEACHERS

2/22/2017

“Stop Humiliating Teachers” by David Denby was published in the Feb. 11, 2017 issue of The New Yorker.

DEY ISSUES A STATEMENT OPPOSING BETSY DEVOS’ NOMINATION FOR SECRETARY OF EDUCATION

1/27/2017

DEY is issuing a assertion in opposition to the nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. 
 
DeVos confirmed in her listening to testimony on January seventeenth that she is profoundly unqualified to serve as Secretary of Education. She was once unable to reply primary questions or tackle controversial issues. But, most importantly, she is in opposition to public schooling and, instead, needs to privatize public education.  DeVos has a validated records of aiding efforts that discriminate in opposition to low-income communities and communities of color.  At DEY, we assist the equal possibility of each younger toddler for an first-rate education.  We are particularly involved that DeVos will undermine the country wide and nation efforts to promote standard preschool public education. 
 
For extra statistics about advocacy for splendid public education, go to DEY’s internet site at  www.thedeyproject.com.

ECE POLICY MATTERS’ SUSAN OCHSHORN DISCUSSES BETSY DE VOS NOMINATION AND DEY’S LATEST REPORT, “TEACHERS SPEAK OUT”

1/22/2017

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THE POWER OF THEIR VOICES: EARLY CHILDHOOD TEACHERS TALK SCHOOL REFORM

(originally published on Jan. 19, 2017)

A former preschool teacher carried the torch for democracy at the confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, Donal Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education.  “The Senate should to be a rubber stamp, Patty Murray said.  We owe it t the American people to put families and children first, not billionaires.”

Those have been warfare phrases from the mild-mannered senator from Washington State, and senior Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee.  Especially with Microsoft and Amazon amongst her pinnacle marketing campaign contributors from 2011 to 2016.   But as the effects of our current election attest, women’s ascent to strength is convoluted.  The pacts we make can be Faustian: these days, a former Microsoft govt runs Washington’s branch of early learning.

In the week before the hearing, as opponents of DeVos signed petitions, called their senators, and entreated members of the HELP committee to dump her, Defending the Early Years, a nonprofit organization based in Boston, released “Teachers Speak Out.” The document highlights the worries of early childhood instructors about the have an effect on of college reforms on low-income children.  Authors Diane E. Levin and Judith L. Van Hoorn culled their information from interviews with 34 educators in California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and Washington, DC.

The link between socioeconomic status and academic achievement has been firmly installed in research.  According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, forty seven percentage of young people beneath six years ancient lived in  low-income families near or beneath the poverty line in 2014. The stage rises to almost 70 percentage for Black and Native-American teenagers and sixty four percentage for Hispanic youngsters.  In a current survey carried out with the aid of the Council of Chief State School Officers—which helped design  the Common Core standards—teachers throughout the United States listed household stress, poverty, and gaining knowledge of and psychological troubles as the pinnacle limitations to scholar success.

Yet the mandates of the Common Core are exacerbating the problem.  As Levin and Van Hoorn factor out in the report’s introduction, “recent reforms…have been developed and applied by using human beings with desirable intentions however frequently little formal  knowledge of early child development.”   Those with the expertise now face a  “profound ethical dilemma.”  As top-down mandates dictate the teaching and assessment of narrow academic skills at younger and younger ages, early childhood educators are forced to do the “least harm,” rather than the “most good.”

In an exchange at the hearing, between DeVos and Todd Young, a Republican senator from Indiana, she crowed about our “great opportunity…to really empower [teachers] in a new way to do what they do best.”   She horrifies educators.  They’ve been leaving the field, exhausted and dispirited, in record numbers.  Respect for the profession and morale are at an all-time low, as teachers have picked up the slack for a society that starves its schools and communities, and blames them for all its ills.  But out of this malaise, a new activism has emerged, with great energy dedicated to defeating her.

Early childhood teachers—with some extraordinary exceptions—have been lacking from the action. The motives are complex.  This is a personnel that has lengthy been marginalized, their work devalued, and know-how ignored.  “It’s simply babysitting,” New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie, stated some years ago, of his state’s prekindergarten program—a grasp shared via many, and internalized with the aid of these in the field.  Salaries for educators working in community-based packages are appreciably much less than these of their colleagues in the public schools.  Many are dwelling in poverty, and troubled by way of the poisonous stress frequent amongst their students. The most up-to-date practitioners are concerned about inserting their careers at risk.  Few have been inclined to go on the report with their critique.

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​As I study via the report, I saved underlining the costs from the teachers, as if to expand them, to carry them off the page.  They’re struggling to honor early childhood’s sturdy proof base, however they’re undermined by using a lack of business enterprise and autonomy:

The have confidence in my know-how and judgment as a instructor is gone.  So are the play and studying facilities in my classroom.  Everything is supposed to be structured for a particular lesson and rigidly timed to suit into a specific, tight, preapproved schedule.

The poor affect of reforms on children’s improvement and studying can’t be overstated. Practice has emerge as greater rote, and standardized, with much less time for deep relationships—among children, and between them and caring adults.  We’re stealing the coronary heart of notable early education, as the person strengths, interests, and wants of young people get lost:

With this extreme emphasis on what’s called ‘rigorous academics,’ drills are emphasized.  It’s much harder for my children to become self-regulated learners.  Children have no time to learn to self-regulate by choosing their own activities, participating in ongoing projects with their classmates, or playing creatively.  They have to sit longer, but their attention spans are shorter.

The authors convey us into the lecture rooms studied via Daphna Bassok, Scott Lathem, and Anna Rorem, of the University of Virginia, who used two large, nationally consultant information units to examine public school  kindergarten classrooms between 1998 and 2010. More formal, directed guidance in reading, writing, and math, as soon as the province of first grade, has trickled down into kindergarten.  Close studying is turning into phase of the predicted ability set of 5-year-olds, and the stress has extended, in some cases, to prekindergarten, the place young people are being requested to grasp studying with the aid of the cease of the year. The repercussions are severe:

It’s necessary for each and every kindergarten baby to experience welcomed and included, to be phase of the class. Instead, we’re setting apart the cream from the milk.  From the beginning, we’re telling children who are poor, ‘You’re deficient,’ alternatively of supporting them end up in a position and sense profitable and section of their class.  Then it’s ‘remedial this, remedial that.’  It’s discrimination.

The report concludes with a series of recommendations—from the real experts in the room.  The first calls for the withdrawal of current early childhood standards and mandates. Another urges the use of authentic assessment, based on observations of children, their development, and learning.  Number ten addresses child poverty, our national stain:

Work at all tiers of society to reduce, and in the end cease infant poverty.  To do this, we need to first well known that a slender focal point on enhancing faculties will now not resolve the complicated troubles related with baby poverty.

Breaking the silence used to be by no means so sweet.  Now it’s time, as John Lewis says, to get in exact trouble.

DEFENDING THE EARLY YEARS RELEASES ITS LATEST REPORT: “TEACHERS SPEAK OUT: HOW SCHOOL REFORMS ARE FAILING LOW-INCOME YOUNG CHILDREN”

1/9/2017

Defending the Early Years is proud to announce the release of its newest report, “Teachers Speak Out: How School Reforms Are Failing Low-Income Young Children.”  

In the wake of federal and state education mandates, this report documents interviews with early childhood teachers across the country about how school reforms negatively affect low-income young children.
 
Authored by Diane E. Levin, Professor of Early Childhood Education, Wheelock College, and Judith L. Van Hoorn, Professor Emerita, University of the Pacific and published by Defending the Early Years, the report finds that the mandates disregard teachers’ knowledge of child development, culturally appropriate practice, and how to meet the diverse educational needs of poor children.
 
Find the full 16-page report here.

Find the two-page summary report here.

Find the press release here.

NETWORK FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION MOUNTING A CAMPAIGN TO DEFEAT BETSY DEVOS AS SECRETARY OF EDUCATION

1/6/2017

Senate hearings on the affirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education commence on January 11, 2017. Many educators have grave issues about Mrs. DeVos.  See “ A Sobering Look at What Betsy DeVos Did to Education in Michigan – and What She Might Do as Secretary of Education” from The Answer Sheet in The Washington Post and “Betsy DeVos and God’s Plan for Schools” in the Dec. 13, 2016 New York Times.

Network for Public Education is mounting a campaign and encouraging educators and other concerned citizens to contact their Senator.  Find a sample letter and the addresses of all Senators at https://actionnetwork.org/letters/tell-your-senator-to-vote-no-for-betsy-devos?source=facebook& amp;. Or write your own letter, in your own words.

Another choice is to name 202-225-3121 and be linked with any congressional member, each Senators and Members of the House of Representatives. Tell the staffer who solutions that you are hostile to Mrs. DeVos’ affirmation as Secretary of Education.  They will ask for your identify and zip code and tally your name as a “yay” or “nay.” 

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