Archive for October 2014

Taking the Road Less Traveled: The Founding of Cherry Preschool

The first Cherry Preschool was born in 1990.  It existed on a scrap of paper hidden in a drawer – my personal dream. I wrote it the way girls often try out the names of boys they like. I just wanted to see how it looked. At the time, I was mourning the death of... Read more »

PARCC – A Test No One Wants to Give but Everyone has to Take

Suppose a new children’s cereal came on the market. Its manufacturer claims it is great for kids. It will make them smarter and more prepared for college and career. The cereal has no label of ingredients and the has never been tested to see if its safe. You only have the manufacturer’s claim that it’s... Read more »

Remembering Halloween Traditions Across Generations

I’m having a hard time remembering much about Halloween from my childhood. Perhaps that’s because I’m trying to dredge up memories from 60 years ago. So I asked my mother what costumes I wore for Halloween and she informed me that it really wasn’t a big deal when I was a kid. In fact, she... Read more »

To the Parent of the Shy Kindergartener

Since when did shyness in a 5-year-old become something requiring remediation? Apparently, in today’s kindergartens, it does. You see, shy kids generally don’t perform well on standardized tests given at the beginning of kindergarten. And that can be totally normal for a child with a shy or anxious temperament. But under our new approach to... Read more »

Inequality, Poverty, and the Educational Reform Movement

How can a brilliant man who received a rigorous education at a private school and graduated from Yale University end up living in poverty and shot dead for dealing drugs in Newark? That is the question I grappled with as I read The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs. There is... Read more »

Developmentally Appropriate Practice: Teaching Science to Young Learners

I’m no expert on teaching science to kindergarteners, but in over 30 years as an early childhood educator, I never met a worksheet for kids this age that I thought was worth the paper and ink used to print it. I’m an old fashioned believer in developmentally appropriate practice. So try to imagine you are... Read more »

Judy Blume’s Fudge and Today's Kindergarten Expectations

One of my granddaughters is reading Super Fudge by Judy Blume. Published in 1980, the book was beloved by her mother when she was young. But as I reflected back to the era in which the mischievous Fudge attended kindergarten, I wondered if my granddaughter was shocked by the school’s response to Fudge’s behavior. I... Read more »

What’s in a Name? Genealogy & Searching for your Roots

At first, all we had was a name – Pauline Rose. When my father-in-law, Albert, died at the age of 57, my mother-in-law divulged the secret. He was not an orphan. His father had institutionalized his mother, Pauline, when he was five.  Albert and his three older sisters were divided among family members, and their... Read more »

Getting Ready for PARCC Testing – What will it do to our Teachers?

Yesterday was World Teacher Day. In an ironic twist, an article in the New York Times proclaimed, “In Washington State, Political Stand Puts Schools is a bind…Federal Fund Diverted After Refusal to Tie Teacher Ratings to Test Scores.” That’s right – because the state chose a different system for evaluating its teachers, Arne Duncan and... Read more »

How Student Essay Writing has Changed Since 1969

Yes, you read that correctly. 45 years ago, I was teaching high school English at Niles East High School in Skokie, Illinois. In case you are wondering, I snagged that job right out of college. Nevertheless, if you do the math, you know you are reading the opinion of a former English teacher of a... Read more »