Let the Children Play,
Reading: Too much too soon,
The Common Good,
Is the Teacher Pay-gap Gender-related?
Vouchers hurt students in Ohio
HEALTHIER KIDS NEED PLAY, PLAY, AND MORE PLAY
FreshEd with Will Brehm: Let the Children Play (Pasi Sahlberg and William Doyle)
Earlier this year I reviewed a book by Pasi Sahlberg and William Doyle titled Let the Children Play. On December 2, the authors were interviewed by Will Brehm on his excellent podcast, FreshEd.
The authors’ emphasis during their interview, and the emphasis in their book, is that play is much more important than most Americans realize, and most American children, especially children who live in poverty, don’t have enough time in their day to play. Some excerpts from the podcast…
DOYLE: Play is a fundamental engine of learning for children and if you don’t believe us, think of what the American Academy of Pediatrics said recently, “The lifelong success of children is based on their ability to be creative and to apply the lessons learned from playing.”
SAHLBERG: Things have gotten worse in the lives of children in terms of their access and opportunities to play, and certainly in school.
DOYLE: In the case of New York City, the poorer the school, which means, you know, the more African American and largely Latinx the school is, the more the children are subject to a hideous practice called recess punishment, or recess detention, where recess is literally used as a carrot or an incentive, or behavior modification tool…kids being punished for late homework or…goofing around, and then they have their recess taken away…[but] the research says, the more you let children play, the better they do on standardized tests, and the better they behave in class.
A three-point plan for healthier kids: play, play and more play
On his blog, Salberg reiterated the importance of play.
Quite simply, smartphones and digital media have taken over the time that children used to have for reading and playing outdoors. And all of the benefits of that play time gained cumulatively over the years in a child’s life have been lost as a result.
Research has shown that these benefits include social, interpersonal and resilience skills, as well as creativity and problem-solving that are often mentioned by employers as the most wanted outcomes of school education…
…I suggest a three-point plan.
One, every school must have a minimum of one hour for free play time each day – separate from time to eat.
Two, at home, every child should have outdoor play time of at least one hour every day.
And three, at a policy level, government and education leaders need to ensure the curriculum is structured so there is enough time for free play during school days.
DEVELOPMENTALLY INAPPROPRIATE EDUCATION
It’s Wrong to Force Four and Five Year Olds to Read! Focus on Speaking and Listening Instead!
Play is important, so what do we do here in the US? We’re so test-obsessed that we continue to teach in developmentally inappropriate ways. Nancy Bailey on reading too soon…
With No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and Common Core State Standards, some adults have been led to believe that four- and five-year-old children should read by the end of kindergarten. Preschoolers are pushed to be ready for formal reading instruction by the time they enter kindergarten.
This is a dangerous idea rooted in corporate school reform. Children who struggle to read might inaccurately believe they have a problem, or reading could become a chore they hate.
Pushing children to focus on reading means they miss listening and speaking skills, precursors to reading. These skills are developed through play, which leads to interest in words and a reason to want to read.
Some children might learn to read in kindergarten, and others might show up to kindergarten already reading, but many children are not ready to read when they are four or five years old. And just because a child knows how to read in kindergarten, doesn’t mean they won’t have other difficulties with speech and listening.
THE COMMON GOOD
Normally all the items I post on my blog Medleys are articles you can access on the internet. I have one, however, that I want to review and, unless you’re a member of Kappa Delta Pi, an International Honor Society in Education, you won’t be able to read it. Still, it’s worth discussing.
[For those with access, the article below appeared in two consecutive issues of the Kappa Delta Pi Record…Vol 55, no. 3, and no. 4.]
We will never have the kind of schools we would like to have, nor the test scores we want, unless we do something about —
by David C Berliner, Regents’ Professor Emeritus in the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education at Arizona State University.
In 2009, David C. Berliner reported on out of school factors and achievement in K-12 education. The report, Poverty and Potential: Out-of-School Factors and School Success, discussed seven out-of-school factors related to childhood poverty, which have an impact on student achievement. I refer to that report often in these pages…mostly because it’s generally ignored by policymakers.
Berliner’s report and other research have indicated that out of school factors have a stronger impact on student achievement than either curriculum or school personnel. In the current article, Berliner maintains that out-of-school factors are six times more powerful in determining school achievement than is the strongest in-school factor, personnel.
Essentially, Berliner is saying that we, as a society, need to accept the responsibility for all our children, not just the ones who are related to us. Time to lose the selfish “I, me, mine,” attitude and recognize that fully funded education and reduction of child poverty is necessary for the common good. Our nation benefits when everyone has what they need.
…Our nation has an almost mindless commitment to high-stakes testing, even when everyone in research knows that outside-of-school factors play six times more of a role in determining classroom and school test scores than do the personnel in our public schools. Nevertheless, if we want our public schools to be the best they can be and their test scores to be higher than they are, then we need to do something about making our states better places to live in, to work in, and in which to raise children. Each school district needs to look beyond its own district and worry about opportunities for all our children. The extra taxes needed to improve the education of youth, as I proposed here, are trivial against the benefits of a higher quality of life for us all.
…We will never have the kind of schools we would like to have, nor the test scores we want, unless we do something about housing patterns in America’s communities.
…about access to high-quality early childhood education.
…about our students’ summer school experiences.
…about absenteeism in our schools.
…about pay for qualified educational staff – teachers, bus drivers, counselors, librarians, nurses, social workers, and so forth.
TEACHERS’ PAY GAP — GENDER PAY GAP
What if More Teachers were Male? The Misogynistic Roots of the War on Public Education.
I have long maintained that public school teachers, and by extension, public schools, are disrespected by state legislatures and the general public because teaching is still seen as “women’s work.” That’s why there’s a salary gap of nearly 20% for professionals who teach…similar to the pay gap for women who, in the US earn 79 cents for every dollar earned by men. Those same policymakers would never use the phrase “women’s work” nor would they admit that gender has anything to do with the lack of respect given to teachers and schools. There is, however, a suspiciously consistent relationship between the gender makeup of the profession, and the way the male-dominated society treats public schools.
Would teachers make more…would schools be better funded, if the profession was dominated by men?
If men made up the majority of the profession, would legislators still go out of their way to push teachers around? Of course, I have no way to prove this, but I’m guessing no. We love to think that America has come a long way towards living up to our creed of equality for all. We have mostly gotten it right on paper. But in reality, any minority group, including women (though they are a minority in status only), will tell you that we still fall woefully short in practice.
There is a good old boys network in the halls of our state legislature. I believe they feel empowered by their machismo to push more and more ridiculous hurdles in front of teachers because they view the teaching profession as soft and feminine–one might even use the word submissive (quite biblical of them, no?).
VOUCHERS HURT OHIO KIDS…SO THEY EXPANDED THE PROGRAM
Ohio Expands Its Failed Voucher Program, and Most School Districts Will Lose Funding
What do you do when the research shows that a privatization program hurts children? If you’re an Ohio legislator, you expand the program.
…the students eligible to leave with a voucher do better if they stay in public school; the students who use the voucher, who come from more advantaged backgrounds, do worse in school.
This is the only statewide evaluation of the Ohio EdChoice Program, and not what one would call a ringing endorsement since those who use the voucher do worse in school than those who stay in public school and don’t use the voucher.
Such research did not impress the Ohio legislature. Under the prodding of State Senator Matt Huffman (R.-Lima), the state has expanded the voucher program, so that students in two-thirds of the districts across the state are now eligible to get state funding to attend a religious school.