Oh yeah I have a blog. Here’s some stuff looking at race and class in early learning.
If anybody reading this knows of preschoolers getting suspended, would you be willing to share more information in the comments about how and why this happens? I can’t believe this is even a topic to discuss.
I’ll actually write some stuff later too!
Our misguided effort to close the achievement gap is creating a new inequality: The ‘play’ gap by Nancy Carlsson-Paige
What we now call the “school to prison pipeline” — the pathway that leads many young people from school into the criminal justice system — is embedded in the context of racial and economic injustice that has always shaped our nation’s schools. And now, in a misguided effort to close the achievement gap, we are creating a new kind of inequality. In the current education climate, now focused on academics and rigor even in pre-K and kindergarten, economically advantaged children have many more opportunities to play in school than do kids from low-income communities. We are planting the seeds of disengagement for the young children we want to see succeed and stay in school.
With the academic pushdown that has accompanied the adoption of the Common Core, this phenomenon is rearing its ugly head earlier and earlier. Last spring, the U.S. Department of Education’s survey of America’s public schools found “troubling racial disparities” among them access to preschool and the high rate of suspension of boys of color, who represent 18 percent of preschool enrollment but 42 percent of students suspended once.
Some of the above has to do with classroom practice terribly unsuited to little kids, the casualties of Common Core Standards that don’t support the whole child. Boys are especially vulnerable, as their development, including self-regulation, proceeds on a different timeline than that of girls. More rigid, prescribed kindergarten curricula and the absence of play or recess affect them even more deeply.
In a compelling study of early-childhood programs in the District of Columbia Public Schools, Rebecca Marcon, a developmental psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of Florida in Jacksonville, found that educators cannot assume that “just any preschool curriculum will achieve positive results.” As Marcon discovered when she was called in to investigate high rates of retention in the district’s first grades, many youngsters weren’t getting smarter with each year they spent in school. In fact, Marcon soon determined, many kids were failing even though they’d been enrolled in readiness programs such as Head Start, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten.