DEY Releases “Straight Talk About the Common Core State Standards”

Testing season is around the corner and, once again, Defending the Early Years takes a stand about the Common Core State Standards. Find our newest resource, Straight Talk about the Common Core State Standards, on our website now!


Anniversaries and New Beginnings

Here at DEY were are gearing up for another powerful year advocating on behalf of young children. This month we celebrate 4 years of hard work and collaboration! Many of you have been here from the beginning, and for that we are profoundly grateful. In fact, we are deeply thankful for everyone’s hard work and contributions – from our National Advisory Board and our Senior Advisers, to all of you (teachers, parents, activists, community members) who are part of our coalition.
BlakelypicAt this time, as our momentum continues to build, we have decided to bring on Blakely Bundy, M.Ed. to join me as Co-Director for the upcoming year. Blakely brings a wealth of talent, expertise, and great energy. She is Director Emeritus and Senior Adviser to the Alliance for Early Childhood on the North Shore of Chicago. Blakely has been key to the success of many DEY projects including the Early Childhood Activist ToolKit and our annual meetings at NAEYC.
As a full-time classroom teacher as well as director of DEY, my hands are always quite full, and therefore I am thrilled to have such an incredible teammate to support DEY in moving forward. Please join me in welcoming Blakely to this new role!
Geralyn Bywater McLaughlin

Celebrate #GivingTuesday!

Please Support DEY 
Join people around the world today, Tuesday, Dec. 1st, known as #GivingTuesday. This is a global day for giving back. Your donations will help Defending the Early Years continue the fight to defend play and playful learning in today’s world of over-testing and corporate reforms that devalue the rights of children and the craft of teaching.
Thank you so much!

DEY at NAEYC’s Annual Conference

DEY Panel at NAEYC
Our DEY panel at NAEYC received a standing ovation! Diane Levin facilitated our panel on the challenges of the Common Core – drawing on the expertise of Joan Almon, Constance Kamii and Lilian Katz. Their messages, which are captured in the advocacy reports they have all published with DEY, truly resonated with the audience. We were able to archive much of the session on video, and have added the clips to our Defending the Early Years’ YouTube Channel.
You can also watch clips from our organizing meeting with Denisha Jones. We had over 50 people in attendance to work with us in identifying key educational issues as well as potential next steps for dealing with the issues. Thanks to Blakely Bundy for her immense help in making this event a success!

Spanish Translations and Summer Reading Recommendations

Many thanks to our colleague and friend Ruth Rodriguez for helping us to begin our journey in translating DEY materials into Spanish! Our first piece LO QUE TODO PADRE DEBE SABER is now available on our website for downloading and sharing. This is a translation of “What Parents Need to Know: 6 Reasons to Reject the Common Core Standards for K – Grade 3.” And thanks to Blakely Bundy for the layout work! (translation was updated on 7/14/15)
Here are some suggestions for great summer reading…  Each of these books has a special connection to DEY, and we are thrilled to recommend them here:

Susan Ochshorn’s

“This remarkable book manages to pinpoint the critical issues in the care and education of young children with up-to-date research, and all of this in a pleasurable and lively style. This needs to be read widely, and right away.” – Deborah Meier

“Rae Pica understands children.  With her wisdom and insight, she helps us know how to do right by kids in a world full of conflicting pressures.  Thank you, Rae, for this valuable book.  We need it now more than ever!” 
– Nancy Carlsson-Paige
“In today’s world, it is easy for us to forget how important contact with nature is for children’s emotional and spiritual development. This profound and beautiful book reminds us and shows how contact with animals can foster children’s compassion and enlarge their humanity.” 
– John Robbins 
Play from Birth to Twelve: Contexts, Perspectives, and Meanings 3rd edition  Edited by Doris Pronin Fromberg & Doris Bergen. This book has chapters by Diane Levin, Constance Kamii and so many more…
In light of recent standards-based and testing movements, the issue of play in child development has taken on increased meaning for educational professionals and social scientists. This third edition of Play From Birth to Twelve offers comprehensive coverage of what we now know about play and its guiding principles, dynamics, and importance in early learning.” – Routledge website

Our New Report! Reading Instruction in Kindergarten: Little to Gain and Much to Lose

Today, in conjunction with the Alliance foReading Instruction in Kindergartenr Childhood,  we are thrilled to release our new report Reading Instruction in Kindergarten: Little to Gain and Much to Lose. In the report we concluded that Common Core reading requirements for kindergarten are inappropriate and not well-grounded in research. Under Common Core, students are expected to be able to read before entering first grade.

The report maintains that the pressure of implementing the reading standard is leading many kindergarten teachers to resort to inappropriate drilling on specific skills and excessive testing. Teacher-led instruction in kindergartens has almost entirely replaced the active, play-based experiential learning that children need based on decades of research in cognitive and developmental psychology and neuroscience.

In an effort to shift back to a developmentally appropriate, child-centered curriculum, Defending the Early Years and Alliance for Childhood call for the withdrawal of the kindergarten standards from the Common Core so they can be rethought along developmental lines.

Please check out our video for more information! 


Follow on Twitter and join the movement: @DEY_Project @4Childhood #2Much2Soon

Help us spread the word via social media. Here are some sample tweets:

1) #EarlyEd experts @dey_project @4childhood conclude #CCSS Kinder reading requirement is #2much2soon

2) Why @dey_project @4childhood call for withdrawal of kinder standards from #CCSS

July Update

Dear Friends of DEY,

Many good things have been happening at DEY – and I wanted to take this opportunity update you on where we are heading:

  • Our survey closed out on July 15th and we will use the data to prepare a report to be released widely by mid-September.
  • This summer we are working on drafting the early childhood platform for Save Our Schools. The Save Our Schools People’s Education Convention in Washington D.C. will feature  DEY’s Senior Adviser Nancy Carlsson-Paige who will be delivering a keynote address. Our other Senior Adviser, Diane Levin will be presenting a workshop along with Nancy titled, Early Childhood Teachers Speak Out and Organize.  For more information about the SOS Conference go to:

Looking ahead:

  • Defending the Early Years will be a presence at NAEYC’s Annual Conference in Atlanta this November. Diane Levin has had a session accepted (Beyond Remote Control Teaching and Learning) that can help us spread the work of DEY.  If you are planning to attend the Annual Conference, be sure to look for us there!

One more thing:

In New York City last month, parents, teachers, students and scholars protested Pearson, Inc.’s role in the strangling testing regimen.  Here is the link to the ten minute video documenting that protest:Pearson protest.

Geralyn Bywater McLaughlin, Director