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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) not only left us puzzled but raised several important questions.

Should a find out about that observed a 2½-month obtain in tutorial capabilities when taught in preschool have an effect on early childhood coverage and practice? How can one argue for giving up large chunks of playtime for tutorial educating to make such minimal features 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 educational capabilities to preschoolers in the 1960’s and 1970’s discovered that beneficial properties made in tutorial overall performance over adolescents in extra play-based Head Start applications had been typically long past through 2d grade (i.e., “fade-out effect,” as noted in the article).  Furthermore, lookup in many European countries, which do no longer begin formal analyzing guidance till age seven, indicates that beginning formal instructing of analyzing until now has little benefit.

Play-based early childhood packages are all-too-often misunderstood.  Just having performed in a preschool is no longer enough, as  all play is not the same.  When a baby dabbles from one undertaking to another, tries out one fabric and then the next, and/or does the equal endeavor day-after-day, this is now not nice play or, necessarily, even play.  And, even when a baby does end up greater entirely engaged in an recreation that develops over time and is significant play, instructors have a critical position in facilitating the play to assist the baby take it further.  The instructor additionally makes selections about how to combine greater formal early literacy and math capabilities into the play—for instance, by using supporting a infant dictate testimonies about his portray and pointing out some of the key phrases and letters involved, etc.   The trainer can then assist the infant “read” the story at a type meeting.  With block building, the instructor and toddler would possibly talk about shapes, as she tries to locate the proper structure for her structure.

This kind of intentional teacher-facilitated learning through play contributes to the many foundational skills children need for later school success, including self-regulation, social skills, creativity, original thinking, oral language development, eye-hand coordination, pre-literacy and math skills, and positive attitudes toward problem-solving.  And, in the long run, these foundational skills are much more important for how children will feel about and perform later in school than the 2½ months gain they might obtain from the early skill instruction received in preschool, as reported in the New York Times article.

Rather than debating over free play versus flashcards, perhaps we should be asking the bigger questions:

  1. Why are years of lookup on the advantages of exceptional play in preschool applications so frequently ignored?
  2. Why is it assumed that tutorial competencies are so vital to emphasize in preschool alternatively than a center of attention on the improvement of the “whole child” and foundational abilities that put together kids for college success in the later years?
  3. Why are play and learning so often treated 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 complete toolkit will reply questions about constitution faculties and faculty 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 40 states either have or are in the process of developing Kindergarten Readiness Assessments (KRA), a tool to measure children’s readiness for kindergarten. While KRAs have several benefits for teaching and learning, the results can also be used inappropriately, according to a recent 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 means of David Denby was once posted in the Feb. 11, 2017 difficulty of The New Yorker.

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

1/27/2017

DEY is issuing a announcement in opposition to the nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. 
 
DeVos showed in her hearing testimony on January 17th that she is profoundly unqualified to serve as Secretary of Education. She was unable to answer basic questions or address controversial issues. But, most importantly, she is against public education and, instead, wants to privatize public education.  DeVos has a proven history of supporting efforts that discriminate against low-income communities and communities of color.  At DEY, we support the equal opportunity of every young child for an excellent education.  We are especially concerned that DeVos will undermine the national and state efforts to promote universal preschool public education. 
 
For greater statistics about advocacy for terrific 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 combat 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 consequences of our latest election attest, women’s ascent to electricity 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 earlier than the hearing, as opponents of DeVos signed petitions, referred to as their senators, and advised individuals of the HELP committee to dump her, Defending the Early Years, a nonprofit agency primarily based in Boston, released  “Teachers Speak Out.” The record highlights the worries of early childhood instructors about the influence of college reforms on low-income children.  Authors Diane E. Levin and Judith L. Van Hoorn culled their statistics 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 set up in research.  According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, forty seven percentage of youngsters underneath six years historical 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 youngsters and sixty four percentage for Hispanic youngsters.  In a latest survey carried out by using the Council of Chief State School Officers—which helped design  the Common Core standards—teachers throughout the United States listed household stress, poverty, and getting to know and psychological troubles as the pinnacle boundaries to pupil 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 through humans with correct intentions however regularly little formal  knowledge of early child development.”   Those with the understanding now face a  “profound moral dilemma.”  As top-down mandates dictate the instructing and evaluation of slim tutorial competencies at youthful and youthful ages, early childhood educators are compelled to do the “least harm,” alternatively than the “most good.”

In an trade 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 file numbers.  Respect for the occupation and morale are at an all-time low, as instructors have picked up the slack for a society that starves its colleges and communities, and blames them for all its ills.  But out of this malaise, a new activism has emerged, with awesome electricity committed to defeating her.

Early childhood teachers—with some incredible exceptions—have been lacking from the action. The motives are complex.  This is a group of workers that has lengthy been marginalized, their work devalued, and knowledge ignored.  “It’s simply babysitting,” New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie, stated some years ago, of his state’s prekindergarten program—a understanding shared through many, and internalized by using these in the field.  Salaries for educators working in community-based applications are appreciably much less than these of their colleagues in the public schools.  Many are residing in poverty, and bothered by way of the poisonous stress frequent amongst their students. The latest practitioners are concerned about placing their careers at risk.  Few have been inclined to go on the document with their critique.

​As I study via the report, I stored underlining the rates from the teachers, as if to expand them, to elevate them off the page.  They’re struggling to honor early childhood’s strong proof base, however they’re undermined by way of a lack of corporation and autonomy:

The trust in my expertise and judgment as a teacher is gone.  So are the play and learning centers in my classroom.  Everything is supposed to be structured for a specific lesson and rigidly timed to fit into a specific, tight, preapproved schedule.

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The terrible have an effect on of reforms on children’s improvement and getting to know can’t be overstated. Practice has end up extra 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 awesome early education, as the man or woman strengths, interests, and wishes of adolescents get lost:

With this severe emphasis on what’s referred to as ‘rigorous academics,’ drills are emphasized.  It’s a lot tougher for my teenagers to turn out to be self-regulated learners.  Children have no time to research to self-regulate by means of deciding on their personal activities, collaborating in ongoing tasks with their classmates, or enjoying creatively.  They have to sit down longer, however their interest spans are shorter.

The authors bring us into the classrooms studied by Daphna Bassok, Scott Lathem, and Anna Rorem, of the University of Virginia, who used two large, nationally representative data sets to compare public school kindergarten classrooms between 1998 and 2010. More formal, directed instruction in reading, writing, and math, once the province of first grade, has trickled down into kindergarten.  Close reading is becoming part of the expected skill set of 5-year-olds, and the pressure has extended, in some cases, to prekindergarten, where children are being asked to master reading by the end of the year. The repercussions are severe:

It’s imperative for each and every kindergarten baby to experience welcomed and included, to be section 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 assisting them grow to be able and sense profitable and phase 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 degrees of society to reduce, and in the end quit infant poverty.  To do this, we need to first well known that a slim focal point on enhancing colleges will no longer remedy the complicated issues related with toddler poverty.

Breaking the silence was once by no means so sweet.  Now it’s time, as John Lewis says, to get in properly 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 worries 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 marketing campaign and encouraging educators and different involved residents to contact their Senator.  Find a pattern letter and the addresses of all Senators at  https://actionnetwork.org/letters/tell-your-senator-to-vote-no-for-betsy-devos?source=facebook&. Or write your own letter, in your own words.

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

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