As a consultant to early childhood teachers, I hear, daily, complaints about people being made to be with children in ways they believe to be injurious; between the current penchant for testing and the current belief that naming de-contextualized letters leads one to reading, and that everything is better taught to younger children, there is a great deal of pain felt by sensitive teachers who know how to help children by teaching OUT of lockstep, by learning the child’s interests and then helping him learn the tool subjects.

Wonderful teachers are leaving the field, which now hosts many who can stay because they are insensitive to children. When I taught community college I had to outlaw the question “will it be on the test” and was frantic when I realized that the class I was teaching were interested in getting their grades and getting out, and had no interest at all in child development. These teachers-to-be were the products of the kind of education I’m describing, in Oakland, CA, a community where education can be the only way out of poverty that’s legal. We need a renaissance of creative thinking, teachers not constrained by uniform curricula and “all on the same page on the same day.” People have never flowered under these circumstances, and life should include some flowering.

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