Emily Kaplan’s reflections on “No Excuses” charter schools – Please Read and Share

On Thursday, an important essay was posted in Jennifer Berkshire’s brilliant blog
EduShyster. This post, All I Really Need to Know I Should’ve Learned in Kindergarten, was written by Boston-area elementary teacher, Emily Kaplan. The post has already been featured on ECE PolicyWorks, and here at DEY we hope that the piece will continue to gain traction and attention. We believe in ampliphying teachers’ voices, which have been drowned out and often discounted in our national conversation about education policy and reform. In her essay, Kaplan documents her experiences and observations teaching at a “No excuses” charter school, as compared to other teaching experiences she has had. She poses many questions, including the following:

…what if a necessary component of improving the long-term prospects of small children from disadvantaged backgrounds is not accelerating through childhood, but purposefully lingering in it?

Kaplan’s piece also opens the door for important conversations about race, poverty and education. The following is the comment left by DEY’s Senior Advisor, Nancy Carlsson-Paige:

This is a terrific article that I will share widely. Thanks, Emily, for seeing through the smokescreen of rote learning and chants for success which have just about nothing to do with real learning in the early years. Thanks too for great descriptions of developmentally sound education–the place where kids gain the deep capacities for real success: thinking deeply, solving problems, imagining and creating, inventing, getting along with others, gaining confidence socially and as learners. And thanks to Dienne for naming exactly a problem we white early childhood educators have. We need stronger alliances, more diverse voices and more trust across groups if we are going to give all young kids the best education possible. And Emily, thanks for naming poverty as an obstacle to that goal. We can’t solve it all in the schools.

Click here to read Emily Kaplan’s full essay on the EduShyster blog, and don’t forget to also check out the comments!

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