Building an Early Childhood Education Resistence Movement: Protecting Childhood and the Profession

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​Education in the United States, and especially early childhood education, is a decentralized patchwork of local, state, national, and private organizations. Even though public education remains (for now) in the public realm, unlike other countries, we lack a universal federally funded system of public education and instead we have 50 states who manage public education and even more organizations that oversee early childhood education. Given the disparities in how much state governments and local governments spend on early childhood education, we have a system that varies greatly in quality and access.  Attempts to unify the profession are underway by those who seek to “establish a unifying framework for career pathways, knowledge and competencies, qualifications, standards, and compensation”. I support these efforts and participate when I can to ensure my voice is heard as others collaborate to strengthen the Power to the Profession project.

However, I do feel there is another type of unifying that needs to happen in the early childhood field.   Yes, we must create a bold vision for the profession that addresses pathways, qualifications, and compensation, but we also need to unify the profession to build a movement of resistance.  We must organize each other and educate our families so we can all mobilize to protect childhood and the profession.  What do we need protection from? The Global Education Reform Movement (GERM), privatization of public education, neo-liberal reforms, test-based accountability, and other forces that push developmentally inappropriate practices, assessments, and policies are a great place to begin.  These threats are real and any attempt to unify the profession that does not address how we resist these toxic efforts does not go far enough, in my opinion.  Over the past 20-years we have identified and discussed these threats, but we have not established a movement of early childhood educators who collectively organize to resist.

Well, I am proud to announce that the time has come to build that movement. . .

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Denisha Jones, PhD
Denisha Jones, PhD. is the Director of Teacher Education and an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at Trinity Washington University. Dr. Jones began her career in education as a kindergarten teacher in D.C. She also worked as a preschool director before spending the last 14 years in teacher education. She is a board member and administrator for the Badass Teachers Association, Inc., United Opt Out National, and she serves as chairwoman of the National Advisory Board for the Public Education Defense Fund. Dr. Jones has been working with Defending the Early Years as and an advisory board member since 2014. Her research interests include developing a critical consciousness in pre-service teachers, organizing activist research projects that challenge the privatization of public education, and leveraging the intersection of public policy, social movement lawyering, and critical social justice education.

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