Small Talks, No. 41
January 7, 2022
Dear Small Talker,
Welcome to the forty first edition of Small Talks, and the first of 2022. Happy New Year.
Every Friday, I highlight 6 areas of weekly joys and reflections in early childhood and the whole family. Small Talks leverages my experience at the intersection of education, philanthropy, and impact investing. Enjoy!
What I’m celebrating -
Such a great way to start the new year by asking 5th graders about their vision for the world in 20 years by The Hechinger Report. It includes this quote:
“Our generation is the future and if we are all kind and loving to others, I think it could change the world.”
—Noelani Velasco Polley, fifth grader
2021 was a HUGE year for edtech, as documented in this report by HolonIQ.
Delighted to contribute my thoughts for the 2021 year-end for EdSurge in this piece: Education Has Been Hammering the Wrong Nail. We Have to Focus on the Early Years. May I admit that the funnel chart is one of my personal favorite powerpoint creations? Take a look and welcome your thoughts.
This deeply inspiring set of 2022 messages of hope from early childhood learners garnered by Mark Swartz at Early Nation.
What I’m listening to -
Few people understand the edtech landscape better than Jennifer Carolan, founding partner at Reach Capital, an early-stage edtech investor. In this podcast with Sora Schools, she speaks about the relevancy gap, mental health, and puts in perspective the massive drop in enrollment in public schools.
What I’m reading -
This now classic 2003 book “Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life” by Annette Lareau where she studied 88 children at 10-year olds and then ten years later at 20-year old. Her conclusion is that middle class parents think about parenting as a process of "concerted cultivation" designed to draw out children's talents and skills, while working-class and poor families rely on "the accomplishment of natural growth." More in this Youtube presentation.
What I’m watching -
Homeroom is a documentary by Peter Nicks about a group of engaged students at Oakland High School during the pivotal school year 2019-2020. They enter classes in the fall 2019 without knowing about the two upcoming historical events: the murder of George Floyd and the Covid-19 pandemic.
What I’m learning and exploring more deeply -
Great report Play to Thrive: The Key to Recovery and a Flourishing Future with many inspiring global examples.
More evidence on the long-term benefits of Head Start - “girls who participated went on as adult women to be about 30 percent less likely to be in poverty, and boys who participated were about 40 percent less likely to receive public assistance benefits”, and a great highlight on Early Head Start that remains massively under-funded (serves only 11% of the needs).
Two important pieces:
This long opinion piece by Rick Hess at AEI titled Education After The Pandemic unfortunately misses the opportunity to highlight the early years- especially under learning science takeaways.
This sobering view in “No Way to Grow Up” by David Leonhardt for the New York Times on how choices during the pandemic have neglected children’s wellbeing.
I loved this “parenting vaccine” proposal by Benjamin Perks (spoiler: this is not the vaccine you may be thinking about).
Quote I am pondering -
“We do not inherit the earth from our parents, we borrow it from our children.”
— Antoine de Saint Exupéry
Feedback is a gift. Which part above is your favorite? What did I miss? What do you want more or less of? Other recommendations? Please kindly let me know. Thank to all all of you who are sending me amazing suggestions.
If you enjoy this newsletter, please help spread the word by sharing with your friends, colleagues, and networks.
Have a wonderful week. Please stay safe and care for each other.