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 suitable 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 essential questions.

Should a study that found a 2½-month gain in academic skills when taught in preschool influence early childhood policy and practice? How can one argue for giving up big chunks of playtime for academic teaching to make such minimal gains in academic performance—with little consideration of what other areas might have lost out because of the focus on academic skills?  Studies of Head Start programs that taught academic skills to preschoolers in the 1960’s and 1970’s found that gains made in academic performance over children in more play-based Head Start programs were generally gone by second grade (i.e., “fade-out effect,” as mentioned in the article).  Furthermore, research in many European countries, which do not start formal reading instruction until age seven, shows that starting formal teaching of reading earlier 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 undertaking to another, tries out one fabric and then the next, and/or does the equal recreation day-after-day, this is no longer fine play or, necessarily, even play.  And, even when a infant does emerge as greater thoroughly engaged in an undertaking that develops over time and is significant play, instructors have a imperative position in facilitating the play to assist the toddler take it further.  The trainer additionally makes selections about how to combine greater formal early literacy and math capabilities into the play—for instance, by way of supporting a baby 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 toddler would possibly talk about shapes, as she tries to locate the proper structure for her structure.

This type of intentional teacher-facilitated studying via play contributes to the many foundational abilities youngsters want for later faculty success, inclusive of 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 an awful lot greater vital for how kids will sense about and function later in faculty than the 2½ months obtain they may gain from the early talent education acquired in preschool, as said in the  New York Times article.

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

  1. Why are years of lookup on the advantages of pleasant play in preschool applications so regularly ignored?
  2. Why is it assumed that tutorial abilities are so essential to emphasize in preschool as an alternative than a center of attention on the improvement of the “whole child” and foundational capabilities that put together youth for faculty 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 comprehensive toolkit will answer questions about charter schools and school 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” by way of David Denby used to be posted in the Feb. 11, 2017 difficulty 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 primary questions or tackle controversial issues. But, most importantly, she is towards public training and, instead, needs to privatize public education.  DeVos has a demonstrated records of assisting efforts that discriminate in opposition to low-income communities and communities of color.  At DEY, we assist the equal chance of each younger baby for an magnificent education.  We are specifically involved that DeVos will undermine the country wide and kingdom efforts to promote familiar preschool public education. 
 
For more information about advocacy for appropriate public education, visit DEY’s website 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 trainer carried the torch for democracy at the affirmation listening to 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 human beings to put households and kids first, no longer 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 current 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 advised individuals of the HELP committee to dump her, Defending the Early Years, a nonprofit enterprise 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 under the poverty line in 2014. The stage rises to almost 70 percentage for Black and Native-American youth and sixty four percentage for Hispanic youngsters.  In a current survey carried out through 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 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 through humans with accurate intentions however regularly little formal  knowledge of early child development.”   Those with the understanding now face a  “profound moral dilemma.”  As top-down mandates dictate the instructing and evaluation of slender educational abilities at youthful and youthful ages, early childhood educators are pressured to do the “least harm,” alternatively 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 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 outstanding exceptions—have been lacking from the action. The motives are complex.  This is a staff that has long 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 appreciation shared through many, and internalized by way of these in the field.  Salaries for educators working in community-based packages are extensively much less than these of their colleagues in the public schools.  Many are residing in poverty, and troubled with the aid of the poisonous stress frequent amongst their students. The latest 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 study via the report, I stored underlining the prices from the teachers, as if to make bigger 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 corporation 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 poor have an impact on of reforms on children’s improvement and studying can’t be overstated. Practice has end up 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 excellent early education, as the person strengths, interests, and wants of adolescents 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 convey us into the lecture rooms studied through Daphna Bassok, Scott Lathem, and Anna Rorem, of the University of Virginia, who used two large, nationally consultant facts units to evaluate public school  kindergarten classrooms between 1998 and 2010. More formal, directed coaching 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 talent set of 5-year-olds, and the strain has extended, in some cases, to prekindergarten, the place kids are being requested to grasp analyzing via the quit of the year. The repercussions are severe:

It’s imperative for each kindergarten toddler to sense welcomed and included, to be phase of the class. Instead, we’re setting apart the cream from the milk.  From the beginning, we’re telling children who are poor, ‘You’re deficient,’ as an alternative of supporting them come to be in a position and experience 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 modern 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 toddler poverty, our country wide 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 used to be by no means so sweet.  Now it’s time, as John Lewis says, to get in precise 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& amp;. Or write your own letter, in your own words.

Another alternative 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 adverse 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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