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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 fantastic 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 a number of necessary questions.

Should a learn about that discovered a 2½-month attain in educational capabilities when taught in preschool impact early childhood coverage and practice? How can one argue for giving up large chunks of playtime for educational instructing to make such minimal good points 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 applications that taught tutorial capabilities to preschoolers in the 1960’s and 1970’s observed that good points made in educational overall performance over teenagers in greater play-based Head Start packages had been commonly long past by way of 2d grade (i.e., “fade-out effect,” as cited in the article).  Furthermore, lookup in many European countries, which do now not begin formal analyzing education till age seven, suggests that beginning formal instructing of analyzing formerly 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 baby dabbles from one endeavor to another, tries out one fabric and then the next, and/or does the equal pastime day-after-day, this is no longer satisfactory play or, necessarily, even play.  And, even when a baby does turn out to be extra totally engaged in an exercise that develops over time and is significant play, instructors have a quintessential function in facilitating the play to assist the baby take it further.  The instructor additionally makes choices about how to combine extra formal early literacy and math capabilities into the play—for instance, by using assisting a toddler dictate memories about his painting and pointing out some of the key phrases and letters involved, etc.   The trainer can then help the toddler “read” the story at a category meeting.  With block building, the instructor and baby may talk about shapes, as she tries to locate the proper form 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 first-rate play in preschool applications so frequently ignored?
  2. Why is it assumed that educational abilities are so necessary to emphasize in preschool instead than a focal point on the improvement of the “whole child” and foundational abilities that put together teens 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 colleges 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 forty states both have or are in the system of growing 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, according to a latest 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” through David Denby used to be posted in the Feb. 11, 2017 problem 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 more information about advocacy for appropriate public education, visit DEY’s website 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 instructor carried the torch for democracy at the affirmation hearing 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 humans to put households and youth first, now not billionaires.”

Those had been struggle 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 latest election attest, women’s ascent to strength 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 urged individuals of the HELP committee to dump her, Defending the Early Years, a nonprofit organisation primarily based in Boston, released  “Teachers Speak Out.” The report highlights the concerns of early childhood teachers about the impact of school reforms on low-income children.  Authors Diane E. Levin and Judith L. Van Hoorn culled their data 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 established in research.  According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 47 percent of children under six years old 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 point out in the report’s introduction, “recent reforms…have been developed and implemented by people with good intentions but often 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 high-quality exceptions—have been lacking from the action. The motives are complex.  This is a body 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 via many, and internalized via these in the field.  Salaries for educators working in community-based applications are substantially much less than these of their colleagues in the public schools.  Many are dwelling in poverty, and troubled via 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 document with their critique.

​As I study via the report, I saved underlining the costs 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 with the aid of a lack of employer 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 bad affect of reforms on children’s improvement and studying can’t be overstated. Practice has come to be 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 awesome early education, as the man or woman strengths, interests, and wishes of youth get lost:

With this severe emphasis on what’s known as ‘rigorous academics,’ drills are emphasized.  It’s tons more difficult for my youth to turn out to be self-regulated learners.  Children have no time to analyze to self-regulate via deciding on their personal activities, taking part in ongoing tasks with their classmates, or taking part in creatively.  They have to sit down longer, however their interest spans are shorter.

The authors convey 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 essential for every kindergarten child to feel welcomed and included, to be part of the class. Instead, we’re separating the cream from the milk.  From the beginning, we’re telling kids who are poor, ‘You’re deficient,’ instead of helping them become competent and feel successful and part of their class.  Then it’s ‘remedial this, remedial that.’  It’s discrimination.

The file concludes with a sequence of recommendations—from the actual specialists in the room.  The first calls for the withdrawal of modern early childhood requirements and mandates. Another urges the use of genuine assessment, primarily based on observations of children, their development, and learning.  Number ten addresses infant poverty, our country wide stain:

Work at all degrees of society to reduce, and eventually give up baby poverty.  To do this, we ought to first renowned that a slim center of attention on enhancing colleges will now not remedy the complicated troubles related with baby poverty.

Breaking the silence was never so sweet.  Now it’s time, as John Lewis says, to get in good 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 start 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 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 adverse 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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