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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 fabulous academic exercise in early childhood. Dana Goldstein’s May thirtieth 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 located a 2½-month attain in tutorial abilities when taught in preschool have an effect on early childhood coverage and practice? How can one argue for giving up huge chunks of playtime for educational instructing to make such minimal features in tutorial performance—with little consideration of what different areas may have misplaced out due to the fact of the center of attention on educational skills?  Studies of Head Start packages that taught tutorial capabilities to preschoolers in the 1960’s and 1970’s discovered that good points made in educational overall performance over adolescents in greater play-based Head Start applications have been usually long gone by using 2d grade (i.e., “fade-out effect,” as referred to in the article).  Furthermore, lookup in many European countries, which do now not begin formal studying preparation till age seven, suggests that beginning formal educating of analyzing previously has little benefit.

Play-based early childhood applications are all-too-often misunderstood.  Just having performed in a preschool is now not enough, as  all play is not the same.  When a infant dabbles from one exercise to another, tries out one cloth and then the next, and/or does the identical exercise day-after-day, this is no longer nice play or, necessarily, even play.  And, even when a baby does emerge as greater completely engaged in an recreation that develops over time and is significant play, instructors have a imperative function in facilitating the play to assist the baby take it further.  The trainer additionally makes selections about how to combine extra formal early literacy and math capabilities into the play—for instance, with the aid of assisting a baby dictate tales about his portray and pointing out some of the key phrases and letters involved, etc.   The instructor can then assist the baby “read” the story at a category meeting.  With block building, the instructor and baby may talk about shapes, as she tries to discover the proper form for her structure.

This form of intentional teacher-facilitated gaining knowledge of via play contributes to the many foundational competencies kids want for later faculty success, such as self-regulation, social skills, creativity, authentic thinking, oral language development, eye-hand coordination, pre-literacy and math skills, and high quality attitudes towards problem-solving.  And, in the lengthy run, these foundational abilities are a great deal extra necessary for how kids will experience about and operate later in faculty than the 2½ months reap they may attain from the early talent preparation obtained in preschool, as stated 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 pleasant play in preschool applications so frequently ignored?
  2. Why is it assumed that tutorial competencies are so essential to emphasize in preschool alternatively than a focal point on the improvement of the “whole child” and foundational abilities that put together young people 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 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 schooling is now borrowing thoughts 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 method of creating Kindergarten Readiness Assessments (KRA), a device to measure children’s readiness for kindergarten. While KRAs have a number of advantages for educating 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 fundamental questions or tackle controversial issues. But, most importantly, she is in opposition to public schooling and, instead, wishes to privatize public education.  DeVos has a confirmed records of assisting efforts that discriminate in opposition to low-income communities and communities of color.  At DEY, we aid the equal chance of each and every young toddler for an top notch education.  We are specially worried that DeVos will undermine the country wide and nation efforts to promote commonplace preschool public education. 
 
For greater facts about advocacy for fantastic 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 trainer carried the torch for democracy at the affirmation listening to for Betsy DeVos, Donal Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education.  “The Senate have to to be a rubber stamp, Patty Murray said.  We owe it t the American human beings to put households and youngsters first, no longer billionaires.”

Those were fighting words from the mild-mannered senator from Washington State, and senior Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee.  Especially with Microsoft and Amazon among her top campaign contributors from 2011 to 2016.   But as the results of our recent election attest, women’s ascent to power is convoluted.  The pacts we make can be Faustian: these days, a former Microsoft executive runs Washington’s department of early learning.

In the week earlier than the hearing, as opponents of DeVos signed petitions, referred to as their senators, and advised participants of the HELP committee to dump her, Defending the Early Years, a nonprofit employer based totally in Boston, released  “Teachers Speak Out.” The file highlights the issues 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 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 youngsters underneath six years historical lived in  low-income families near or under the poverty line in 2014. The degree rises to almost 70 percentage for Black and Native-American youth and sixty four percentage for Hispanic youngsters.  In a latest survey performed by means 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 mastering and psychological issues as the pinnacle obstacles 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 by using humans with desirable intentions however regularly 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 alternate 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 terrific exceptions—have been lacking from the action. The motives are complex.  This is a team of workers that has lengthy been marginalized, their work devalued, and understanding ignored.  “It’s simply babysitting,” New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie, stated some years ago, of his state’s prekindergarten program—a appreciation shared with the aid of many, and internalized by way of these in the field.  Salaries for educators working in community-based applications are notably much less than these of their colleagues in the public schools.  Many are dwelling in poverty, and stricken with the aid of the poisonous stress frequent amongst their students. The most modern practitioners are concerned about inserting their careers at risk.  Few have been inclined to go on the file with their critique.

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​As I examine thru the report, I stored underlining the prices from the teachers, as if to expand them, to raise 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 organisation and autonomy:

The believe in my information and judgment as a instructor is gone.  So are the play and getting to know facilities in my classroom.  Everything is supposed to be structured for a unique lesson and rigidly timed to in shape into a specific, tight, preapproved schedule.

The terrible have an impact on of reforms on children’s improvement and mastering can’t be overstated. Practice has end up 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 fantastic early education, as the character strengths, interests, and wishes of teenagers 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 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 education in reading, writing, and math, as soon as the province of first grade, has trickled down into kindergarten.  Close analyzing 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 kids are being requested to grasp studying by using the quit of the year. The repercussions are severe:

It’s fundamental for each and every kindergarten infant 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,’ rather of supporting them grow to be in a position and experience profitable and section of their class.  Then it’s ‘remedial this, remedial that.’  It’s discrimination.

The file concludes with a sequence of recommendations—from the real professionals in the room.  The first calls for the withdrawal of contemporary early childhood requirements and mandates. Another urges the use of true assessment, based totally on observations of children, their development, and learning.  Number ten addresses baby poverty, our countrywide stain:

Work at all degrees of society to reduce, and subsequently cease baby poverty.  To do this, we ought to first well known that a slender center of attention on enhancing faculties will no longer clear up the complicated troubles related with infant poverty.

Breaking the silence was once in no way 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 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 marketing campaign and encouraging educators and different worried 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 adverse 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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