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 find out about that observed a 2½-month reap in tutorial capabilities when taught in preschool affect early childhood coverage and practice? How can one argue for giving up huge chunks of playtime for tutorial educating to make such minimal positive aspects 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 located that features made in tutorial overall performance over youth in extra play-based Head Start packages have been usually long gone with the aid 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 analyzing education till age seven, indicates that beginning formal educating of analyzing in the past has little benefit.

Play-based early childhood packages are all-too-often misunderstood.  Just having performed in a preschool is no longer enough, as  all play is not the same.  When a infant dabbles from one endeavor to another, tries out one fabric and then the next, and/or does the equal recreation day-after-day, this is no longer nice play or, necessarily, even play.  And, even when a infant does grow to be extra entirely engaged in an undertaking 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 extra formal early literacy and math competencies into the play—for instance, by using supporting 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 instructor and baby would possibly 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-class play in preschool packages so frequently ignored?
  2. Why is it assumed that academic skills are so important to emphasize in preschool rather than a focus on the development of the “whole child” and foundational skills that prepare children for school success in the later years?
  3. Why are play and mastering 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 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 technique of creating Kindergarten Readiness Assessments (KRA), a device to measure children’s readiness for kindergarten. While KRAs have numerous 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 means of David Denby was once 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 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 tackle controversial issues. But, most importantly, she is in opposition to public schooling and, instead, desires to privatize public education.  DeVos has a established records of aiding efforts that discriminate towards low-income communities and communities of color.  At DEY, we help the equal probability of each and every younger toddler for an super education.  We are specially involved that DeVos will undermine the countrywide and country efforts to promote accepted preschool public education. 
 
For greater data about advocacy for excellent 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 trainer carried the torch for democracy at the affirmation listening to for Betsy DeVos, Donal Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education.  “The Senate must to be a rubber stamp, Patty Murray said.  We owe it t the American humans to put households and teenagers first, now 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 individuals of the HELP committee to dump her, Defending the Early Years, a nonprofit agency 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 mounted in research.  According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, forty seven percentage of youngsters below six years ancient 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 know-how now face a  “profound moral dilemma.”  As top-down mandates dictate the instructing and evaluation of slim educational competencies at youthful and youthful ages, early childhood educators are pressured to do the “least harm,” instead 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 document 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 terrific power devoted to defeating her.

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 know-how ignored.  “It’s simply babysitting,” New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie, stated some years ago, of his state’s prekindergarten program—a appreciation shared with the aid of 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 stricken through 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 report with their critique.

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​As I study thru the report, I stored underlining the charges from the teachers, as if to expand them, to carry them off the page.  They’re struggling to honor early childhood’s sturdy proof base, however they’re undermined through a lack of employer and autonomy:

The have faith in my information and judgment as a instructor is gone.  So are the play and getting to know facilities in my classroom.  Everything is supposed to be structured for a particular lesson and rigidly timed to suit into a specific, tight, preapproved schedule.

The terrible influence of reforms on children’s improvement and mastering can’t be overstated. Practice has end up extra rote, and standardized, with less time for deep relationships—among children, and between them and caring adults.  We’re stealing the coronary heart of splendid early education, as the character strengths, interests, and wishes of young people get lost:

With this excessive emphasis on what’s referred to as ‘rigorous academics,’ drills are emphasized.  It’s a lot tougher for my teenagers to come to be self-regulated learners.  Children have no time to study to self-regulate with the aid of deciding on their personal activities, taking part in ongoing initiatives with their classmates, or enjoying creatively.  They have to sit down 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 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 integral for each and every kindergarten infant to experience 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 grow to be in a position and experience profitable and phase 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 present day early childhood requirements and mandates. Another urges the use of real 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 in no way so sweet.  Now it’s time, as John Lewis says, to get in right 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 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’ 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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