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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 learn about that discovered a 2½-month acquire in educational abilities 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 educating 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 educational capabilities to preschoolers in the 1960’s and 1970’s located that features made in educational overall performance over teens in extra play-based Head Start packages have been commonly long gone by using 2nd grade (i.e., “fade-out effect,” as stated in the article).  Furthermore, lookup in many European countries, which do no longer begin formal analyzing preparation till age seven, suggests that beginning formal educating of studying in the past has little benefit.

Play-based early childhood applications are all-too-often misunderstood.  Just having performed in a preschool is no longer enough, as  all play is not the same.  When a toddler dabbles from one exercise to another, tries out one fabric and then the next, and/or does the equal pastime day-after-day, this is no longer exceptional play or, necessarily, even play.  And, even when a baby does turn out to be greater completely engaged in an pastime that develops over time and is significant play, instructors have a indispensable 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 abilities into the play—for instance, by means of assisting a infant dictate memories about his portray and pointing out some of the key phrases and letters involved, etc.   The trainer can then assist the baby “read” the story at a classification meeting.  With block building, the instructor and infant may talk about shapes, as she tries to discover the proper structure for her structure.

This form of intentional teacher-facilitated mastering thru play contributes to the many foundational abilities kids want for later faculty success, together with self-regulation, social skills, creativity, unique 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 whole lot extra vital for how young people will sense about and function later in college than the 2½ months obtain they may attain from the early ability practise acquired in preschool, as pronounced in the  New York Times article.

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

  1. Why are years of research on the benefits of quality play in preschool programs so often ignored?
  2. Why is it assumed that educational competencies are so essential to emphasize in preschool as a substitute than a center of attention on the improvement of the “whole child” and foundational capabilities that put together teenagers for college success in the later years?
  3. Why are play and mastering 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 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 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 numerous 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 used to be unable to reply fundamental questions or tackle controversial issues. But, most importantly, she is towards public training and, instead, desires to privatize public education.  DeVos has a demonstrated records of helping efforts that discriminate towards low-income communities and communities of color.  At DEY, we help the equal chance of each and every younger baby for an exquisite education.  We are in particular involved that DeVos will undermine the country wide and kingdom efforts to promote established 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 trainer carried the torch for democracy at the affirmation listening to for Betsy DeVos, Donal Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education.  “The Senate ought 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 have been battle 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 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 earlier than the hearing, as opponents of DeVos signed petitions, referred to as their senators, and advised contributors of the HELP committee to dump her, Defending the Early Years, a nonprofit enterprise based totally in Boston, released  “Teachers Speak Out.” The file highlights the issues of early childhood instructors about the affect of faculty 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 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 beneath the poverty line in 2014. The degree rises to almost 70 percentage for Black and Native-American young people and sixty four percentage for Hispanic youngsters.  In a latest survey carried out 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 getting to know and psychological troubles as the pinnacle limitations 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 via human beings with desirable intentions however regularly little formal  knowledge of early child development.”   Those with the information now face a  “profound moral dilemma.”  As top-down mandates dictate the educating and evaluation of slender tutorial abilities at youthful and youthful ages, early childhood educators are compelled to do the “least harm,” as an alternative than the “most good.”

In an change 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 career 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 exquisite electricity devoted to defeating her.

Early childhood teachers—with some notable exceptions—have been missing from the action. The reasons are complex.  This is a workforce that has long been marginalized, their work devalued, and expertise ignored.  “It’s just babysitting,” New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie, said some years ago, of his state’s prekindergarten program—a perception shared by many, and internalized by those in the field.  Salaries for educators working in community-based programs are significantly less than those of their colleagues in the public schools.  Many are living in poverty, and afflicted by the toxic stress common among their students. The newest practitioners are worried about putting their careers at risk.  Few have been willing to go on the record with their critique.

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​As I examine thru the report, I saved underlining the prices from the teachers, as if to increase 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 organization 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.

The bad have an effect on of reforms on children’s improvement and mastering can’t be overstated. Practice has grow 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 excellent early education, as the person strengths, interests, and wants 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 guidance in reading, writing, and math, as soon as the province of first grade, has trickled down into kindergarten.  Close analyzing is turning into section of the predicted talent set of 5-year-olds, and the stress has extended, in some cases, to prekindergarten, the place young people are being requested to grasp analyzing through the cease 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 record concludes with a sequence of recommendations—from the actual professionals in the room.  The first calls for the withdrawal of contemporary early childhood requirements and mandates. Another urges the use of actual assessment, based totally on observations of children, their development, and learning.  Number ten addresses baby poverty, our countrywide stain:

Work at all stages of society to reduce, and subsequently stop toddler poverty.  To do this, we should first renowned that a slender focal point on enhancing faculties will no longer clear up the complicated issues related with infant poverty.

Breaking the silence used to be by no means so sweet.  Now it’s time, as John Lewis says, to get in proper 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 confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education begin on January 11, 2017. Many educators have grave concerns 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 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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