DEY joins campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood to urge legislators to not fund Online Preschool

On October 10, 2018, Defending the Early Years (DEY) and Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood (CCFC) co-authored a statement about how online “preschools” deny children the hands-on, face-to-face school experiences that research shows is critical to both early learning and success in later life.  In 2015, the state of Utah sponsored the first state-funded online “preschool” of its kind, called UPSTART. Since then, thousands of families have enrolled in the program and the company has expanded pilot programs to at least seven other states.
As educators and advocates we are deeply troubled by this growing trend to falsely market technology and machine learning as an acceptable way to teach young children.  All of our knowledge about human development demonstrates that children learn best through playful, hands-on experiences with materials, the natural world, and relationships with caring adults. By adopting online pre-k, states are harming kids and families for the benefit of private industry. This practice disproportionately impacts children and families in under resourced areas, raising questions about privacy and masking gross financial inequities by inflating statistics that ‘all children’ have access to preschool. Over 100 leading early childhood experts and organizations have signed the position statement.To learn more, click here. 

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