First Things First!

Creating the New American Primary School
by Ruby Takanishi
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Publisher: Teachers College Press

Publication Date: September 18, 2016

ISBN: 9780807774083

Binding: Kobo eBook

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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 shared 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.

“The vision of a new primary school model in this book should be studied by all workers in the fields of education, human development, and social policy. The scholarship in this book is impeccable and the arguments advanced by this leading scholar are most convincing. Further, the book is beautifully written.”
Edward Zigler, Sterling Professor of Psychology Emeritus, Yale University

“Takanishi makes a compelling case that enabling all American children to achieve their potential requires both expansion of ...