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First Things First!

Creating the New American Primary School

Ruby Takanishi

9780807756942
208 pages
Teachers College Press
Overview
Challenging policymakers, educators, reformers, and citizens to replace piecemeal reforms with fundamental redesign, First Things First! calls for a different way of organizing the American primary school. Ruby Takanishi outlines a new framework for integrating early education with primary education (pre-K–5), including both short- and long-term strategies, that starts with 3- and 4-year-olds. Featuring portraits of primary schools that have successfully integrated pre-K, the book includes resources on dual-language learners, dual-generation family engagement, effective philanthropy, rethinking advocacy, and more. The book centers on four basic questions: Why should the United States design a new primary school as children’s first, widely share educational experience? How can the educators of the new primary school use new knowledge about how children learn to improve their practice? What will it take to create a new primary school that educates all children well? How can the design of the new primary school reflect demographic, social, linguistic, and cultural changes and adapt to the requirements of a global economy? First Things First! reframes the basic structure of traditional primary education, challenging us to get the early years of a 21st-century public education system off to a new and stronger start.
Author Bio
Ruby Takanishi is senior research fellow in the Early & Elementary Education Policy Division at New America in Washington, D.C. She has been honored by the American Education Research Association with the 2014 Distinguished Public Service Award.