A tough critique of Common Core

In today’s Washington Post, Valerie Strauss posted a much-needed critique of the Common Core State Standards for early childhood education on her blog The Answer Sheet. Written by Nancy Carlsson-Paige and Ed Miller, this article shines a spotlight on the faulty process surrounding the development of the early childhood (Pre-K through 3rd grade) section of the Common Core State Standards.

Here is a snippet…

Recent critiques of the Common Core Standards by Marion Brady and John T. Spencer have noted that the process for creating the new K-12 standards involved too little research, public dialogue, or input from educators.

Nowhere was this more startlingly true than in the case of the early childhood standards—those imposed on kindergarten through grade 3. We reviewed the makeup of the committees that wrote and reviewed the Common Core Standards. In all, there were 135 people on those panels. Not a single one of them was a K-3 classroom teacher or early childhood professional.

Not only were early childhood educators excluded from committees developing the standards, their feedback was not included as well. This includes feedback from some of the most prominent leaders in the field. Could you see that happening in any other profession? Read the full article here at The Washington Post.

Open Letter to NAEYC – A Call for Leadership in the Field

Two weeks ago, we posted our Open Letter to NAEYC – A Call for Leadership in the Field. Since then we have received many emails of support, such as:

The letter is articulate, and provides a strong presentation of the opinions of so many in the membership.  Thank you!

I am very concerned about the attention being put on academics for young children without a full understanding of their needs. Please add my name to the letter to NAEYC.

Hurray for DEY! Thank you for helping to unveil and name the gigantic elephant in our collective educational room on behalf of young children and all those who are determined to walk the talk of DAP. Someday, this beast will be tamed for good given the diligence of DEY and countless others who work tirelessly to create a better, more meaningful world for children and families.

I’ll be proud to sign the letter…

As of this morning, 39 early childhood professionals have joined us in signing the letter. Today we are mailing this updated letter to NAEYC. If you are hearing about the letter for the first time, and would like to sign, we can easily add you to the letter posted on our website. Simply send an email to geralynbywater@gmail.com and write “Open Letter” in the subject line. Let us know how you would like to be identified.

And, if you are a prek-3rd grade teacher, please to take a few minutes to respond to our current survey of teachers. We want to hear from you about how demands on you have change since you began teaching – and how your teaching and assessments have changed as well. Thank you!

Moving beyond remote-controlled teaching and learning

DEY invites you to check out Diane Levin’s latest blog entry on Wheelock College’s Aspire website.

Diane wrote the article because of her deep concern over the extreme misfit she is seeing between so many of the early childhood school reforms currently underway and who the young children of today really are.

Here is a snippet:

[A]s young children are controlled more and more by media and technology—what I call “Remote Controlled-Childhood”—they have a hard time constructing knowledge through the process described below. But instead of giving children what they need, today’s education policy makers are responding by mandating remote-controlled approaches to teaching and learning—rote teaching of easily testable isolated facts.

What remote-controlled young children really need is help becoming deeply engaged in the creative learning process described below so they become life-long learners and problem solvers. And all of us who care about promoting the wellbeing of young children can take an active role in working to create early childhood programs that do this.

Continue reading at Wheelock’s Aspire Wire: Ideas, Conversation, Action.

Words of advice to Obama and Romney

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On CNN’s Schools of Thought blog today, DEY’s Nancy Carlsson-Paige offers her ideas about early childhood education to President Obama and Mitt Romney. Here is an excerpt:

My view: Obama, Romney need to know one thing about early childhood education – start over

Here’s what I would say to the presidential candidates (in case they ask me) about what we need to do to give the best education possible to our nation’s youngest members.

I would start talking in a pretty loud voice to make sure they can hear:  You are going in the wrong direction with policy-making for early childhood education! Please back up and start over.

And this time, put early childhood educators at the head of the policy-making table.

Most classrooms for young kids today are driven by a myriad of developmentally inappropriate standards-based tests and checklists. Policy mandates are causing a pushdown of academic skills to 3, 4 and 5 year olds that used to be associated with first-graders through third-graders. Young kids are expected to learn specific facts and skills at specified ages, such as naming the letters and counting by 2’s, 5’s and 10’s (continue reading on Schools of Thought blog at CNN).