Why I Support the DEY Project


Earlier this week, I posted the following piece from Defending the Early Years (DEY) titled “Common Core and Kindergarten Boys”.

Common Core and Kindergarten Boys
Posted on May 7, 2014
The Gesell Institute of Child Development is known as the oldest voice in child development on our country and they are deeply concerned about the Common Core’s affect on young children. In fact, this week the Executive Director Marcy Guddemi wrote specifically about young boys:

“Kindergarten is such an important time in the academic career of the child. In Kindergarten, children first learn what school is all about. School requires new rules, new expectations, new routines, new materials, and much more independence. The ratio of adults to children has changed. The number of children in the classroom has also changed. A mother told me just recently that her Kindergarten child was in a room with 31 children and one teacher. Kindergarten, however, teaches the skills which are the foundation for future academic learning. Kindergarten also shapes the attitude that a child has about school and about him/herself as a learner.

So, with mounting new evidence that girls differ from boys both developmentally and academically at Kindergarten entrance, the fact that the chronological age range of children entering Kindergarten can be anywhere from 4 ½ years to 6, and with what we know about how children learn and development, the Kindergarten Common Core State Standards need to be reexamined—not only or especially for boys but for all children. Achievable standards empower students and teachers, but developmentally inappropriate ones discriminate against and destroy the social and emotional development of Kindergarten students.”



This piece hit home as I have a kindergarten boy of my own. I share the concerns raised in that piece ……and then some.

Defending the Early Years (DEY) is a nonprofit campaign to rally parents and educators to speak out in defense of sane policies and appropriate practices in early childhood education.  DEY has taken aim at Common Core, with good reason (and there are many).

Here’s a tough critique on the standards and how they relate to early childhood education. It was written by Edward Miller, a writer and teacher who lives in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. He is the co-author of “Crisis in the Kindergarten: Why Children Need to Play in School”. Nancy Carlsson-Paige is professor emerita of early childhood education at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is the author of “Taking Back Childhood” and is a Senior Advisor with the DEY Project.


As most readers of my blog know, I have done independent research. I have a son who is in Kindergarten and I have been actively involved in efforts to advocate on his behalf and for his peers. I have grave concerns about the developmental appropriateness of these standards. I am concerned about the direction CC has taken, there is a myopic drive to advance “college and career readiness” leading to an overbundance of testing and narrowing of the curriculum in our schools. When Kindergarten plays are being cancelled and the excuse, in all seriousness, is to advance “college and career readiness” its time to we stop being polite, stand up and yell “Houston, we have a problem!”

Well, “New York we have a problem”….but you get the idea.

As a parent of a young child, the issues DEY tackles and addresses head on really hits home for me. I appreciate and am grateful for their efforts!

I am writing this blog post, because I would like to support and advance DEY’s efforts. I beliieve that the needs, interests and abilities of our youngest. most vulnerable population of children has been gotten lost and overlooked in this mindless race toward purported “college and career readiness”.

Children are being deprived of their childhood. Who is speaking out for them and watching out for them? Corporate interests and economic policy that drives public education without regard for the well being of children have permeated decision making and has invaded  our children’s sand box.

Organizations like DEY dedicate resources to protecting and advocating for the needs of this most vulnerable population of children so I am happy to share info when I can about how parents and educators can get involved to support DEY and get involved to advocate as well.

DEY is offering up to $10K in Action Mini Grants to parents and educators who are rallying for change in early childhood classrooms.

Press Release:

For Immediate Release:


Gina Contursi



The DEY Project Announces Up to $10K in Grants to Support Parents Taking on the Common Core

— Non-profit Fosters Community Efforts to Protect Early Childhood Classrooms —

BOSTON – Defending the Early Years (deyproject.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting appropriate practices in early childhood classrooms, announced today the kick-off of its Action Mini Grant initiative.

Designed to support the efforts of parents and teachers rallying for reform of CCSS in K-3rd Grade classrooms, the initiative will award grants ranging from $200.00 to $500.00 to applications that successfully outline action plans supporting the goals of The DEY Project.

“We have heard from parents and teachers across the country who are fed up with ‘too much, too soon’ education policies that are inappropriate for young children,” said Geralyn Bywater McLaughlin, Director of Defending the Early Years. “We hope that DEY’s Mini Grants will help turn that frustration into action.”

Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and up to 20 awards will be granted. Action plans may include, but are not limited to:

  • Hosting parent information meetings
  • Organizing a Call Your Legislator Day
  • Spearheading letter writing campaigns to politicians
  • Organizing a “Play-In” or “Opt Out” campaign
  • Holding Open Forums for community members and stakeholders

For more information, download the mini grant application here.

Additionally, Defending the Early Years has released a variety of tools to help parents understand what is happening with the Common Core State Standards in early childhood classrooms across the country. Resources include their new What Parents Need to Know fact sheet and a DEY Mobilizing Kit that provides both informational and action resources to help parents advocate for best practices in their children’s classrooms.

Founded in 2012, Defending the Early Years is committed to supporting and nurturing the needs and rights of young children and promoting best practices in early childhood education. DEY is a non-profit project of the Survival Education Fund, Inc. – a 501(c) 3 educational organization. For more information visit www.deyproject.org or follow on Twitter @DEY_Project.  

I spoke to Gina Contursi of DEY, this grant is open to official 501(c)3 NFP advocacy groups. However, there are many fantastic grassroots organizations that have risen to the occasion in the fight against Common Core and  they are not precluded from applying. A group who is NOT a 501(c)(3) would  be eligible to recieve a grant, If the grassroots group applying teamed up with an organization who is a 501(c)(3). Please contact Gina Contursi with any questions.

I think this is a fantastic opportunity and am looking into this grant for several of our advocacy organizations and efforts. Spreading awareness is paramount, opportunities like this help make advocacy plans a reality.

I support the DEY project. If you share my concerns, then you should consider supporting DEY too.

Please share this info with anyone you think might be interested in advocating for children and dont forget to “Like” DEY on FB:




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