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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.deyproject.org) we work to promote gorgeous instructional 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) now not solely left us puzzled however raised numerous essential questions.

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

Play-based early childhood programs are all-too-often misunderstood.  Just having played in a preschool is not enough, as all play is not the same.  When a infant dabbles from one endeavor to another, tries out one fabric and then the next, and/or does the equal exercise day-after-day, this is now not fine play or, necessarily, even play.  And, even when a toddler does turn out to be greater absolutely engaged in an endeavor that develops over time and is significant play, instructors have a critical position in facilitating the play to assist the infant take it further.  The instructor additionally makes selections about how to combine greater formal early literacy and math abilities into the play—for instance, by means of assisting a toddler dictate memories about his portray and pointing out some of the key phrases and letters involved, etc.   The instructor can then assist the toddler “read” the story at a type meeting.  With block building, the trainer and baby would possibly talk about shapes, as she tries to locate the proper structure for her structure.

This type of intentional teacher-facilitated gaining knowledge of via play contributes to the many foundational abilities youngsters want for later faculty success, which include 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 competencies are a lot extra necessary for how youngsters will experience about and function later in faculty than the 2½ months attain they may attain from the early ability guidance obtained in preschool, as pronounced 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 research on the advantages of first-rate play in preschool applications so frequently ignored?
  2. Why is it assumed that academic skills are so important to emphasize in preschool rather than a focus on the development of the “whole child” and foundational skills that prepare children for school 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 colleges and college 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 manner of creating Kindergarten Readiness Assessments (KRA), a device to measure children’s readiness for kindergarten. While KRAs have numerous advantages for instructing and learning, the consequences 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 way of David Denby used to be posted in the Feb. 11, 2017 trouble of The New Yorker.

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

1/27/2017

DEY is issuing a statement 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 training and, instead, needs to privatize public education.  DeVos has a tested records of helping efforts that discriminate in opposition to low-income communities and communities of color.  At DEY, we help the equal chance of each younger infant for an top notch education.  We are mainly worried that DeVos will undermine the country wide and kingdom efforts to promote popular preschool public education. 
 
For extra statistics about advocacy for terrific public education, go to DEY’s internet site at  www.deyproject.org.

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 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 amongst her pinnacle marketing campaign contributors from 2011 to 2016.   But as the outcomes of our current election attest, women’s ascent to energy is convoluted.  The pacts we make can be Faustian: these days, a former Microsoft government 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 organisation primarily based in Boston, released  “Teachers Speak Out.” The document highlights the issues of early childhood instructors about the affect of college reforms on low-income children.  Authors Diane E. Levin and Judith L. Van Hoorn culled their records 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 young people underneath six years historic lived in  low-income families near or below the poverty line in 2014. The level rises to nearly 70 percent for Black and Native-American children and 64 percent for Hispanic youngsters.  In a recent survey conducted by the Council of Chief State School Officers—which helped design  the Common Core standards—teachers across the United States listed family stress, poverty, and learning and psychological problems as the top barriers to student 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 means of humans with top 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 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 report 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 faculties and communities, and blames them for all its ills.  But out of this malaise, a new activism has emerged, with high-quality strength committed to defeating her.

Early childhood teachers—with some first-rate 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 grasp shared through many, and internalized by using these in the field.  Salaries for educators working in community-based applications are extensively much less than these of their colleagues in the public schools.  Many are dwelling in poverty, and troubled through the poisonous stress frequent amongst their students. The most modern practitioners are concerned about placing their careers at risk.  Few have been inclined to go on the report with their critique.

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​As I read through the report, I kept underlining the quotes from the teachers, as if to amplify them, to lift them off the page.  They’re struggling to honor early childhood’s robust evidence base, but they’re undermined by a lack of agency and autonomy:

The believe in my knowledge and judgment as a trainer 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 healthy into a specific, tight, preapproved schedule.

The negative impact of reforms on children’s development and learning can’t be overstated. Practice has become more rote, and standardized, with less time for deep relationships—among children, and between them and caring adults.  We’re stealing the heart of high-quality early education, as the individual strengths, interests, and needs of children 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 carry us into the lecture rooms studied with the aid of Daphna Bassok, Scott Lathem, and Anna Rorem, of the University of Virginia, who used two large, nationally consultant information units to evaluate 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 vital for each and every kindergarten infant to sense welcomed and included, to be section of the class. Instead, we’re keeping apart the cream from the milk.  From the beginning, we’re telling children who are poor, ‘You’re deficient,’ alternatively of supporting them turn out to be equipped and sense 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 actual professionals in the room.  The first calls for the withdrawal of cutting-edge early childhood requirements and mandates. Another urges the use of real assessment, based totally on observations of children, their development, and learning.  Number ten addresses infant poverty, our countrywide stain:

Work at all ranges of society to reduce, and subsequently cease infant poverty.  To do this, we have to first well known that a slender center of attention on enhancing colleges will no longer remedy the complicated issues related with baby poverty.

Breaking the silence was once by no means so sweet.  Now it’s time, as John Lewis says, to get in desirable 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&. Or write your own letter, in your own words.

Another alternative 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 antagonistic 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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