WENDY LOCKER: NOTHING ABSTRACT ABOUT THE LESSONS OF PLAY

6/10/2017

Read Wendy Locker’s insightful article, as published 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 observed a 2½-month attain in tutorial competencies when taught in preschool have an impact on early childhood policy and practice? How can one argue for giving up massive chunks of playtime for tutorial educating to make such minimal features in tutorial performance—with little consideration of what different areas would possibly have misplaced out due to the fact of the focal point on tutorial skills?  Studies of Head Start packages that taught tutorial capabilities to preschoolers in the 1960’s and 1970’s determined that beneficial properties made in educational overall performance over adolescents in greater play-based Head Start applications have been typically long past by means of 2d grade (i.e., “fade-out effect,” as noted in the article).  Furthermore, lookup in many European countries, which do no longer begin formal studying practise till age seven, suggests that beginning formal educating 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 toddler dabbles from one pastime to another, tries out one cloth and then the next, and/or does the identical recreation day-after-day, this is no longer excellent play or, necessarily, even play.  And, even when a baby does grow to be extra entirely engaged in an pastime that develops over time and is significant play, instructors have a integral position in facilitating the play to assist the toddler take it further.  The instructor additionally makes selections about how to combine extra formal early literacy and math abilities into the play—for instance, by way 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 classification meeting.  With block building, the trainer and baby may talk about shapes, as she tries to discover the proper structure for her structure.

This type of intentional teacher-facilitated studying thru play contributes to the many foundational abilities teenagers 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 wonderful attitudes towards problem-solving.  And, in the lengthy run, these foundational abilities are tons greater necessary for how young people will experience about and function later in faculty than the 2½ months acquire they would possibly gain from the early talent training acquired 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 fantastic play in preschool applications so regularly ignored?
  2. Why is it assumed that tutorial competencies are so vital to emphasize in preschool as an alternative than a focal point on the improvement of the “whole child” and foundational abilities that put together youngsters for college success in the later years?
  3. Why are play and getting to know so regularly dealt with 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 technique 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 consequences can additionally be used inappropriately, in accordance 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” 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 declaration 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 extra data about advocacy for gorgeous 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 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, known as their senators, and urged contributors of the HELP committee to dump her, Defending the Early Years, a nonprofit organisation based totally 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 factor out in the report’s introduction, “recent reforms…have been developed and carried out by way of humans with correct intentions however frequently little formal  knowledge of early child development.”   Those with the know-how now face a  “profound moral dilemma.”  As top-down mandates dictate the educating and evaluation of slim educational abilities at youthful and youthful ages, early childhood educators are pressured to do the “least harm,” alternatively 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 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 colleges and communities, and blames them for all its ills.  But out of this malaise, a new activism has emerged, with tremendous power devoted to defeating her.

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Early childhood teachers—with some top notch 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 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 by way of these in the field.  Salaries for educators working in community-based applications are considerably much less than these of their colleagues in the public schools.  Many are residing in poverty, and troubled via the poisonous stress frequent amongst their students. The latest practitioners are involved about inserting their careers at risk.  Few have been inclined to go on the document with their critique.

​As I examine thru the report, I saved underlining the costs from the teachers, as if to expand them, to elevate 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 organisation and autonomy:

The have confidence in my information and judgment as a trainer is gone.  So are the play and mastering facilities in my classroom.  Everything is supposed to be structured for a particular lesson and rigidly timed to in shape 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 excessive emphasis on what’s known as ‘rigorous academics,’ drills are emphasized.  It’s a good deal more difficult for my young people to grow to be self-regulated learners.  Children have no time to analyze to self-regulate by way of deciding on their personal activities, collaborating in ongoing tasks with their classmates, or enjoying creatively.  They have to take a seat longer, however their interest 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 practise in reading, writing, and math, as soon as the province of first grade, has trickled down into kindergarten.  Close studying is turning into phase of the anticipated ability set of 5-year-olds, and the stress has extended, in some cases, to prekindergarten, the place youth are being requested to grasp studying with the aid of the cease of the year. The repercussions are severe:

It’s fundamental for each and every kindergarten baby to experience welcomed and included, to be phase of the class. Instead, we’re keeping apart the cream from the milk.  From the beginning, we’re telling youngsters who are poor, ‘You’re deficient,’ rather of assisting them end up capable and sense profitable and section of their class.  Then it’s ‘remedial this, remedial that.’  It’s discrimination.

The record concludes with a collection of recommendations—from the actual professionals in the room.  The first calls for the withdrawal of modern early childhood requirements and mandates. Another urges the use of real assessment, primarily based on observations of children, their development, and learning.  Number ten addresses toddler poverty, our countrywide stain:

Work at all levels of society to reduce, and ultimately end child poverty.  To do this, we must first acknowledge that a narrow focus on improving schools will not solve the complex problems associated with child poverty.

Breaking the silence was once by no means so sweet.  Now it’s time, as John Lewis says, to get in accurate 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 worries 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 other 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 choice 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 antagonistic to Mrs. DeVos’ confirmation 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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