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 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 determined a 2½-month achieve in educational competencies 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 educational instructing to make such minimal beneficial properties 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 abilities to preschoolers in the 1960’s and 1970’s discovered that features made in educational overall performance over young people in extra play-based Head Start packages had been typically long past via 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 practise till age seven, suggests that beginning formal educating of analyzing previously has little benefit.

Play-based early childhood packages 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 recreation to another, tries out one fabric and then the next, and/or does the identical exercise day-after-day, this is no longer fine play or, necessarily, even play.  And, even when a infant does grow to be greater thoroughly engaged in an pastime that develops over time and is significant play, instructors have a imperative function in facilitating the play to assist the toddler take it further.  The trainer also makes selections about how to combine extra formal early literacy and math competencies into the play—for instance, with the aid of assisting a toddler dictate tales 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 instructor and baby may talk about shapes, as she tries to discover the proper form for her structure.

This sort of intentional teacher-facilitated gaining knowledge of thru play contributes to the many foundational abilities adolescents want for later faculty success, which include 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 lots extra necessary for how young people will experience about and operate later in college than the 2½ months achieve they may reap from the early talent training acquired in preschool, as pronounced in the  New York Times article.

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

  1. Why are years of lookup on the advantages of first-rate play in preschool packages so regularly ignored?
  2. Why is it assumed that educational capabilities 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 kids for college success in the later years?
  3. Why are play and gaining knowledge of 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 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” via 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 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 simple questions or address controversial issues. But, most importantly, she is in opposition to public training and, instead, needs to privatize public education.  DeVos has a confirmed records of helping efforts that discriminate towards low-income communities and communities of color.  At DEY, we aid the equal chance of each younger infant for an awesome education.  We are specifically involved that DeVos will undermine the country wide and kingdom efforts to promote usual preschool public education. 
 
For greater records about advocacy for gorgeous 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 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 urged contributors of the HELP committee to dump her, Defending the Early Years, a nonprofit business enterprise based totally in Boston, released  “Teachers Speak Out.” The document highlights the worries of early childhood instructors about the have an impact on of faculty reforms on low-income children.  Authors Diane E. Levin and Judith L. Van Hoorn culled their facts 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 hooked up in research.  According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, forty seven percentage of youth below 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 youngsters and sixty four percentage for Hispanic youngsters.  In a current survey performed with the aid 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 gaining knowledge of and psychological issues as the pinnacle boundaries to scholar 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 carried out by using human beings with exact 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 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 exquisite exceptions—have been missing from the action. The motives are complex.  This is a group of workers that has lengthy been marginalized, their work devalued, and information 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 through 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 residing in poverty, and bothered with the aid of the poisonous stress frequent amongst their students. The most up-to-date practitioners are concerned about inserting their careers at risk.  Few have been inclined to go on the document with their critique.

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​As I examine thru the report, I saved underlining the prices from the teachers, as if to enlarge them, to carry them off the page.  They’re struggling to honor early childhood’s strong proof base, however they’re undermined through 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.

The bad affect of reforms on children’s improvement and studying can’t be overstated. Practice has grow to be 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 exceptional early education, as the man or woman strengths, interests, and wishes of kids 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 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 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 ranges of society to reduce, and in the end stop baby poverty.  To do this, we need to first renowned that a slender center of attention on enhancing colleges will no longer clear up the complicated issues related with toddler 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 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 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& amp;. Or write your own letter, in your own words.

Another choice 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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