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Children of 2020 book report

Creating a Better Tomorrow

By Lisa Murphy

Commentary on the book:  Children of 2020: Creating a better tomorrow, edited by Valora Washington and J.D. Andrews, © 2010, a collaborative publication between NAEYC and the Council for Professional Recognition.


At the NAEYC Professional Development Institute that took place in Phoenix in June 2010, I attended a panel presentation style workshop.  The presentation was facilitated by Valora Washington, and the speakers on the panel were Barbara Bowman, Luis Hernandez and Sue Bredekamp; three well known names in the early childhood community.


Both the book and the panel followed a theatre style presentation:


Act I:  Vision: Imagining the world for the children of 2020, Hernandez spoke on this.   Act II:  Knowledge:  Information to guide future practice, Bredekamp spoke here.

Act III: Strategies:  Facilitating outcomes for the children of 2020, Bowman presented here.

Act IV: Denouement: Taking personal responsibility for the children of 2020.


I took about 10 pages of notes during the presentation and immediately bought the book after the talk was over.  A major difference between this book and its predecessor Children of 2010 is that Children of 2020 is divided up into individual articles within the Act I, Act II, Act III, Act IV framework.   I offer this because technically each article of course contributes to the whole of the volume, but could also stand alone.


In order they are:


ACT I Vision Articles:

  1. Full service community schools
  2. Hopes, dreams, intentions
  3. Two-generational approach
  4. Pre-K – 3rd grade: a paradigm shift
  5. The leadership role of elementary school principals
  6. Realizing the dream for America’s children


ACT II Knowledge Articles:

  1. Learning and cognitive development
  2. Social-emotional development
  3. Culturally responsive perspective
  4. Racial identity
  5. Language and literacy for bilingual and monolingual children
  6. The mathematical lives of young children
  7. Play
  8. Learning and life skills


ACT III Strategy Articles

  1. State-funded preschools
  2. Assessment for teaching and learning
  3. Family engagement
  4. Technology
  5. The role of the states
  6. Linking economic research to public investment
  7. The learning communities of 2020
  8. (Excerpt) Aliens in the education matrix: recovering freedom



Various comments about what “called to me” from the book:


The concept the contributors present of creating tomorrow by what we do today.


The reminder that for change to occur there must be people who own and share clear beliefs about what all children deserve, and who must be willing to act on those beliefs.


That in 1916 John Dewey said that every child deserves an excellent education, one that focuses on the whole individual, including social, personal and academic development.  A question posed in response to this historical quote: “What is taking us so long?”


People working with children MUST have a solid understanding of child development.


Education must move beyond tolerance to appreciation and incorporation of diversity.


We must greatly improve society’s perception of teachers, particularly teachers of young children.


That teachers must strive towards offering individualized instruction.


That consistent with one of the main themes presented in a different book, Ready or Not, by Stacie Goffin and Valora Washington, the editors of Children of 2020 hope that by 2020 there will be greater consensus within our field of what we call ourselves and what we actually do as early childhood educators.  Their view is that greater consensus will promote better outcomes for children as well as greater communication and collaboration among all involved.   SIDEBAR:  Full disclosure:  I am a fan of Ready or Not and of Washington and Goffin’s willingness to, in their words, call the question.  Are we as professionals ready to answer?  If you have not yet read this timely, oft challenging and important work, make time to do it this year.



And all of this is only from the first 18 pages!!!!


And seriously, to pull highlights from each chapter would end up being a small book itself.   And truly, I’m not being lazy here in my commentary; it’s just that it addressed soooo much!  So I will leave you here with this:  the chapters in this book will provide insights, challenges and suggestions all the way through.  My suggestion is to get it, read it, let it sink in.  And then, like me, start acting on it.


But to put a big one-two punch on it…. I will remind you of language she used in her previous book, Children of 2010  “Of what will we be ashamed if it is still a problem in 2010?”


So 10 years ago, what were we thinking about? Worrying about?  Are any of them still a “problem?”  Which leads to my next question, “Why?”  Why are the same issues still hovering around?  And that being said, (sorry folks… I write the way I talk) what topics and issues are we still going to be dealing with in 10 years?


It really is time to start dealing with them and not forwarding the headaches of our profession to the next, upcoming, generation.  Get this book.  Read it.  Identify the issue(s) you can get behind and make something happen.


I dare you.




© Lisa Murphy, Ooey Gooey Inc.

Written October 1, 2010


Edited November 2, 2010

Posted also, Nov. 2, 2010

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