There's a ton of solid data showing that systematic (planned, logically progressive), explicit (clear models, definitions, and rules), focused instruction is highly effective. In fact, Professor Plum has clogged this blog (note the clever approximation to a rhyme) with sprightly verbiage on that very subj, here.
In addish, as you may know, there are many field-tested commerical programs in reading, math, writing, spelling, science, logic, and history based on principles of systematic, explicit, focused instruction. These go by the name Direct Instruction, as discussed here and here. Programs very close to DI are by Saxon Math (at least it used to be the case), Singapore Math, and many programs sold by Sopris West and Curriculum Associates.
Natcherly, "little" di (systematic, explicit, focused instruction in general) and commercial DI programs are despised by the majority of pedagogues and decision-making eduhacks--possibly because these nitwits know that effective, efficient programs will put them out of business. Witness the evil nonsense going on in Rockford, IL. The idiocy in the remarks of Ms. Hayes as she defends her decision to get rid of DI and replace it with whole language (which edufrauds call "balanced literacy") is so blatant you'd think she'd have noticed--or perhaps not.
As principal, Parker used teacher-led direct reading instruction with a heavy dose of phonics. Chief Instructional Officer Martha Hayes, who arrived with Superintendent Dennis Thompson in May, wants more student-centered reading called "balanced literacy."
Hayes said Lewis Lemon's success did not translate to higher fifth-grade reading scores. Parker said direct reading instruction was new to the upper elementary grades and was not given time to show results.
You can read the latest here.
Whole languagists and other intellectually impaired inhabitants of Edland are clever reptiles. OF COURSE DI is not going to raise fifth grade reading scores YET; the school started using it in the LOWER grades. This is akin to arguing that a medicine does not work even though no patients have taken it yet. How people this stupid are able to put on their pants without strangling themselves or setting the house on fire is a great mystery. I wonder if they THINK of these lines ahead of time, or if their madness just leaks out.
Having watched whole languagists, pseudo-child-centrists, and progressives since 1967, we know them to be unrepentant liars, cowards, and mentally negiligible hysterical harpies.
Sec. Witch. Thrice and once the hedge-pig whin’d.
Sec. Witch. Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
Instead of examining in a sane way the reasons for "the big fourth grade slump" in disadvantaged kids' achievement, the typical eduquack Custodians of Curricular Psychosis drop programs that in all likelihood would have accelerated kids' progress, and instead install merry little fruitcake programs (that are all about ACTIVITIES and not about MASTERING SKILLS) that will sustain the achievement gap.
Notice the demented talk in an article kindly forwarded by Intrepid Reader Instructivst. The duo of New York EduBoss Klein and his Deputy in Charge of Piffle Farina have ventured way beyond mere drivelling about teachers becoming "guides on the side"; they have mandated it. Readers will no doubt be impressed by the hard data provided by Farina...
Farina used the workshop method in her classes at PS 29 in
Brooklyn [Can you get a SMALLER sample?] and found her students' scores went up [How many? How much?] while others [Who? How many?] in the school and district went down. "It's all about active, student engagement," said Farina, who says the system has won many fans. [Fans? That's how you justify sweeping deform?] "What we're finding [WEASEL WORDS!!!! LET'S SEE THE DATA!!] is the more kids talk in class, the more they learn. For too long, students have been silent, and teachers have been talking."
Now THAT's evidence! An anecdote backed up by a treacly line about poor kids having to listen to a teacher. One wonders if Farina listens to the TEACHERS? Just when you need a couple of railroad ties and a bucket of roofing tar, Ace Hardware closes for the day.
There are two sets of reasons for the slump--no matter how good early instruction is.
1. Fourth grade teachers don’t teach reading as systematically and explicitly as lower grade teachers might have done, and so kids' progress slows down.
2. Vocabulary and comprehension skills of disadvantaged kids are way behind, and fourth grade makes a BIG jump in vocabulary and comprehension. There’s no way to catch them up in the first few years.
Here are some great reads on the reasons for and ways to close the gap, provided by Kerry Hempenstall, whose website and work are real treasures.
The Fourth-Grade Plunge: The Cause. The Cure by Jeanne Chall, Vicki Jacobs. Available at: https://www.aft.org/pubs-reports/american_educator/spring2003/index.html
Reading Comprehension Requires Knowledge - of Words and the World Scientific Insights into the Fourth-Grade Slump and the Nation’s Stagnant Comprehension Scores. E. D. Hirsch, Jr. Available at:
The Early Catastrophe. The 30 Million Word Gap By Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley. Available at:
Oral Comprehension Sets the
It will be a fine day when families no longer fall for mealy-mouthed guff from arrogant pinheads who sacrifice children on the alter of vanity. I believe Ace Hardware opens around 7 AM.