Nashville education blogger TC Weber is not amused. In fact, you can probably hear the screaming in his latest post. In it, he takes on a range of issues — charter schools, teaching reading, school discipline policies — and makes the case that all the shiny new objects are just a way to avoid the tough conversations adults in comfortable places don’t seem to want to have.
Here are some highlights:
As a result, we had a crisis on our hands, “According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, more than six in 10 fourth-graders aren’t proficient readers. It has been this way since testing began. A third of kids can’t read at a basic level.”
I don’t want to get sidetracked, or this will turn into a 4000-word piece, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out who said it – National Assessment of Educational Progress – and what they said – It has been this way since testing began – nothing quite justifies one’s existence like the discovering of a crisis. Just think, if testing hadn’t started, we’d be wandering in the desert with no idea if kids could read or not.
On teaching reading:
Yet phonics disciples would have me believe that if we would just focus on using methods of teaching that aligned with science, we’d overcome all those social issues impacting students. Kids would suddenly start saying things in class like,
“Mrs. Johnson I used to be hungry in the morning when I came to class, but now that you are using phonics, I don’t feel hungry anymore.”
“Mr. Jones, my parents arguing and general drunken behavior used to keep me up all night, but now I go to sleep at night with the sounds of phonics in my head and I don’t even hear them anymore.”
The impact of poverty:
If you have doubts about what I’m saying when it comes to poverty’s impact on student outcomes, call me next time you have a job interview. We won’t feed you for 12 hours beforehand and I’ll keep you awake all night before your interview. We’ll see if you get the job.
There’s more — it’s intense, but worth a read.
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