Will de Blasio listen?
Ian New York City parents made this compelling and heart-felt video to tell Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio their ideas about education and the choosing of the new school chancellor.
Will de Blasio listen?
Back from Washington, DC and beginning to reflect on all that happened. Here are just a few initial thoughts - and more soon.There were some encouraging indicators. Quite exciting was the turnout for DEY Senior Adviser Diane Levin's featured session Beyond Remote-Controlled Childhood: Teaching Young Children in the Media Age. The massive room was filled - the estimate was at least 1,000 people in attendance. Diane explained the many ways in which young children are affected by popular culture and exposure to media. She shared successful strategies for working with children and families. In her speech Diane called for creating schools that take into account who today's children are - and to much applause she questioned current misguided school reform.
Many thanks to Community Playthings for sponsoring this important session! If you missed the session and want to know more, Diane's book is available through the NAEYC online bookstore.
Many thanks also to the early childhood teacher activists who joined us at our session Finding Your Voice: Becoming A Teacher Activist, and for our evening meeting at The Henley Park Hotel. You shared your stories and your ideas - and we learned as much from you as you (hopefully!) learned from us. It was encouraging to finally meet many of you in person, after having met only online until now. DEY will be working to follow up on the ideas shared, and so please stay tuned.
In the opening session it was heartening to hear NAEYC's new executive director Rhian Evans Allvin encourage attendees to go out and vote. Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Green Party...whatever your political inclination is: vote! Voting is one way for early childhood educators to use their voices. As this new bill, the Strong Start for America's Children Act gains traction, it will be our voices that help to keep what is best for children at the center.
Finally, although I wasn't able to attend the session, I heard great things about a reflection on advocacy from folks who have been working for high-quality early childhood education for decades - folks like Joan Lombardi and Marcy Whitebook.
Those are a few initial reflections...more will be forthcoming. Please feel free to add your own reflections and/or questions...
ook for Defending the Early Years at NAEYC's Annual Conference!
Thursday morning 11/21: Diane Levin's featured session, Beyond Remote-Controlled Childhood: Teaching Young Children in the Media Age, 10:00 - 11:30 am in Ballroom C.
On November 13th Diane Levin published the piece Media Literacy for Young Children: Essential for School Success in Today's World in her education blog with the Huffington Post. Levin describes why she testified before the Massachusetts Legislature's House-Senate Joint Committee on Education in favor of media education for all children in the state. Levin has been looking closely for decades at media's impact on children's lives. Her writings and research on the topic are extensive. Her new book Beyond Remote Controlled Childhood: Teaching Young Children in the Media Age (NAEYC, 2013) is a much-needed resource for teachers who are seeking ways to support children (and families) whose lives and learning have been impacted by today's media-saturated world.
The issues Levin addresses speak directly to DEY's concerns about the loss of play as well as the increase in scripted curricula and testing in early childhood classrooms. Please join us for Diane Levin's featured session!
Friday afternoon 11/22: Constance Kamii, member of DEY's National Advisory Board, presents Direct versus indirect ways of teaching number concepts to children, ages 4-6, 1:00 - 2:30 pm in West Salon I.
Friday afternoon: Finding Your Voice: Becoming a Teacher-Activist, 3:00 - 4:30 pm in Room 101 at the Convention Center. Thanks to the CEASE Interest Forum for sponsoring this session. Friday evening: DEY will be hosting a gathering for teacher-activists 6:00 - 7:30 pm at the Henley Park Hotel, 926 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC - just one block from the convention center. See flier here. Please RSVP to email@example.com.
In the exhibit hall: Booth #935 with Hugh Hanley Circle of Song and TRUCE (Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children's Entertainment). Stop by and introduce yourself. Check out DEY materials, TRUCE materials, and with great songs for young children from our dear friend Hugh Hanley!
Nancy Carlsson-Paige has co-authored an important op-ed piece with American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. Early Learning: This is Not a Test speaks to our nation's increased focus on early childhood education - and acknowledges that "what is being required of young children is unreasonable and developmentally unsound."
Among other suggestions, Carlsson-Paige and Weingarten stress that we must "Address questions about the appropriateness and the implementation of the Common Core standards for young learners by convening a task force of early childhood and early elementary educators to review the standards and recommend developmentally appropriate, culturally responsive guidelines for supporting young children's optimal learning."
The momentum of resistance to the Common Core State Standards and high-stakes testing is growing, as we highlighted in a recent DEY blog post. We urge you to share Early Learning: This is Not a Test far and wide as resistance continues to build.
Earlier this week DEY's Senior Adviser Diane Levin published the piece Media Literacy for Young Children: Essential for School Success in Today's World in her education blog at the Huffington Post. Levin describes why she testified before the Massachusetts Legislature's House-Senate Joint Committee on Education in favor of media education for all children in the state. Levin has been looking closely for decades at media's impact on children's lives. Her writings and research on the topic are extensive. Her new book Beyond Remote Controlled Childhood: Teaching Young Children in the Media Age (NAEYC, 2013) is a much-needed resource for teachers who are seeking ways to support children (and families) whose lives and learning have been impacted by today's media-saturated world.This issue speaks directly to DEY's concerns about the loss of play as well as the increase in scripted curricula and testing in early childhood classrooms. Levin writes:
"If passed, Massachusetts will become the first state in the country with the wisdom and foresight to remove the blinders that most of today's policymakers and educators are wearing as they fail to take into account the impact of media and technology on children's optimal development and learning in their more and more narrowly-scripted educational mandates in schools."
"Technology is affecting most aspects of children's lives. I have used the term Remote-Controlled Childhood to capture the fact that more and more of children's time, ideas and behavior are controlled and conditioned by what they see and do on screens--by following programs created by someone else. The more educators understand and work to counteract the resulting remote-controlled learning and behavior, the more successful they will be at promoting optimal learning in children."
Click here to read Levin's entire blog post at The Huffington Post.
Today we share more examples of resistance to the current education "reform" movement...
In New York City, parents at the Castle Bridge School organized a successful boycott of a new standardized test for the K - 2 students at their school. Principal Julie Zuckerman supported the parents and cancelled the test when 90% of the parents opted out. Learn more here from this video from The Real News.
Award-winning principal Carol Burris of New York has written an eloquent piece in Valerie Strauss' The Answer Sheet: A ridiculous Common Core test for first graders. Burris reports that NYSUT (New York State United Teachers) has called for a three year moratorium on high-stakes consequences of testing.
Activists and the Media Mobilizing Project TV in Philadelphia, PA have produced the video Our Schools Are Not For Sale. "This is the story of Philadelphia's teachers, parents, students, and communities who are fighting for public schools that are well-resourced, high-quality and available to all. Watch how local communities are responding to a year of unprecedented attacks, including the closing of 24 schools, layoffs of hundreds of teachers and counselors, and the elimination of school libraries, art, music, and sports programs."
The Badass Teacher Association (BATs) - which formed just a few months ago - already has almost 32,000 members on Facebook. "MISSION: Badass Teachers Association was created to give voice to every teacher who refuses to be blamed for the failure of our society to erase poverty and inequality through education. BAT members refuse to accept assessments, tests and evaluations created and imposed by corporate driven entities that have contempt for authentic teaching and learning. GOALS: BATs aim to reduce or eliminate the use of high stakes testing, increase teacher autonomy in the classroom and work to include teacher and family voices in legislative decision-making processes that affect students."
What other examples of resistance are happening in your area?! Please share.
Are you concerned about the current direction of early childhood education policy in our country?
Are you worried about the lasting negative effects that come from the loss of child-directed, hands-on play?
We are, too!
We are working to identify, connect and strengthen our coalition of early childhood activists.
DEY will be hosting a gathering for early childhood teacher-activists on Friday, November 22nd, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm at the Henley Park Hotel, 926 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. The gathering will be a follow-up to DEY's session Finding Your Voice: Becoming a Teacher-Activist (Friday, 11/22/13, 3:00 - 4:30 pm in Room 101 at the Convention Center) at NAEYC's Annual Conference.
Our goal is to connect teachers who are looking to promote quality early childhood policies in their school, local community, state and nationwide. We will have a structured conversation aimed at defining ways to strengthen our network of early childhood teacher-activists and developing a shared voice. If you are attending NAEYC's Annual Conference, or will be in the area, please join us. Please RSVP to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please share this flier with anyone who might be interested!