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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET FOREWORD and self-esteem and negotiating with others—not through mem- orizing prescribed lists of facts. The pages that follow provide lots of evidence of how best to support children’s intelligence. Can the Gap Be Closed? This book provides both a compelling historical analysis—this is what went wrong—and a new vision for the future—this is what can make it right. It doesn’t prescribe a how-to fix, but it does demonstrate, through real-life stories, what’s possible. The author moves from pessimism to optimism, despair to hope, with stories of real people trying out real theories. Broken promises can be mended, we are assured, if we commit to the challenge of putting theory into practice, ideals into reality. Shortcuts are not the answer. Children are intelligent human beings, ready and eager to learn in the company of grown-ups. They can’t be standardized. They can be respected and invited to grow. This is what it looks like—and if we are really committed to social justice, then this is what we need to be doing. From the vision of Head Start as an opportunity for social change to the reality of school readiness testing, Michael Gram- ling invites us to reflect with him on the story of sixty years of early childhood education in America and to share his vision of an adult-child community of colearners. Can a developmentally appropriate early childhood program build on individual chil- dren’s strengths, ensuring that they really do learn, while provid- ing valid data for assessment? Can it have a genuine impact on the cycle of poverty? Michael assures us: yes. xx COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL