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The Dilemma of Scripted Instruction: Comparing Teacher Autonomy, Fidelity, and Resistance in the Froebelian Kindergarten, Montessori, Direct Instruction, and Success for All

by Barbara Beatty - 2011

Background/Context: More than a century before modern controversies over scripted instruction, the Froebelian kindergarten--the original kindergarten method designed by Friedrich Froebel--and Maria Montessori's pedagogy were criticized for rigidly prescribing how teachers taught and children learned. Today, scripted methods such as Direct Instruction and Success for All are condemned for limiting teachers' autonomy and narrowing students' learning, especially that of students from low-income backgrounds, for and with whom scripts are often designed and used. Proponents of scripted instruction counter that it is helpful for teachers and effective with students. Comparing historical and modern scripts offers an opportunity to explore teachers' reactions to this hotly debated approach to school reform and to think about some possible implications for teacher education.

Purpose/Objective/Research Questions/Focus of Study: I examine how teachers reacted to four different models of scripted instruction. I chose to compare the Froebelian kindergarten, Montessori, Direct Instruction, and Success for All because of their longevity, wide use, and the amount of information available about them. I focus on the scripts' theory and research base and teacher training, and on teachers' assessments of the scripts' effectiveness, and ask how these factors might influence teachers'autonomy, fidelity, and resistance when using scripts.

Research Design: Using historical methods, I summarize the history of scripted instruction; selectively survey research on teacher autonomy, fidelity, and resistance; and interpret primary and secondary sources on the Froebelian kindergarten, Montessori, Direct Instruction, and Success for All.

Findings/Results: Teacher autonomy, fidelity, and resistance varied in these four scripts. Froebelian kindergarten and Montessori teachers autonomously chose to receive scripted, lengthy, intensive, pre-service training and professional development in closed professional learning communities. Direct Instruction and Success for All teachers receive scripted, relatively limited pre-service training and ongoing professional development in schools in which teachers often do not autonomously choose to teach. Despite the scripted training, most Froebelian kindergarten teachers, and many Montessori, Direct Instruction, and Success for All teachers modified these scripts at the classroom level; some Froebelian and Montessori teachers made very overt, substantial changes when the social class backgrounds of the students changed. Many Froebelian and most Montessori teachers seemed to believe that these scripts helped their students learn. Direct Instruction and Success for All teachers express more mixed views of these scripts' effectiveness. Some say that the scripts "work" for their students but that as teachers they feel constrained, a situation I see as a professional dilemma. Anecdotally, some new teachers with little pre-service training say that they feel limited by scripts but daunted by the task of creating curricula and instruction on their own.

Conclusions/Recommendations: My research raises questions about teachers' reactions to scripts. The examples of Froebelian kindergarten, Montessori, Direct Instruction, and Success for All teachers I studied suggest that there may be unpredictable contradictions in scripted instruction. Scripted, autonomously chosen, intensive training may strengthen teacher fidelity and resistance, by giving teachers a deep repertoire of pedagogical skills that some continue to use and others use to autonomously modify scripts in response to students' perceived needs. Scripted, externally imposed, less extensive training may give some teachers a sense of security but also create tensions between the scripts' perceived effectiveness and the teachers' desires for autonomy, and, for new teachers, between autonomy and the difficulty of independently designing curricula and methods. I argue that these reactions suggest that educators in traditional pre-service teacher education programs may want to experiment with offering an autonomous choice of distinctly different instructional models, including scripted ones such as Direct Instruction and Success for All, in which teachers in training in professional learning communities may become deeply skilled. I also argue that script developers may want to experiment with giving teachers more explicit autonomy, both in choosing scripts and in modifying them, and more extensive pre-service training. I recommend more comparative research on teachers' reactions to scripts, especially on new teachers.

Hotly contested, scripted instruction draws intense reactions both pro and con from researchers and teachers. At the 2003 American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, Lisa Delpit raised concerns about class and racial bias and the mechanistic effects of scripted instruction. She condemned the reductionism of scripted teaching in urban classrooms serving low-income children of color where teachers and students are treated as non-thinking objects to be manipulated and managed.1 Other education professors criticize scripted instruction for not taking into account constructivist theories of how children learn. In a 2004 article in Educational Researcher, R. Keith Sawyer argues that effective teaching must be improvisational, because if the classroom is scripted and directed by the teacher, the students cannot co-construct their own knowledge.2 Some researchers raise ethical, moral, and policy concerns, as well, along with objections to the awarding of public funding to private contractors.3

Some teachers decry scripted instruction for limiting their autonomy, professionalism, and ability to respond to students individual needs. Scripts take the professionalism out of teaching, Dawn Christiana, a reading teacher in Bellingham, Washington, said in a 2005 article in neatoday. You dont have to think; you dont have to modify; you just script. Quoted in the same article, Los Angeles fifth-grade teacher James Lopez said he goes off-script. How else will my kids get individual attention?4

Designers of scripted instruction counter that following a model derived from scientifically based research can be helpful for teachers and increase student achievement, especially that of students from low-income backgrounds. Teachers should stick to the script, proponents argue, for students to get the greatest gains. Responding to a 2009 Consortium for Policy Research in Education study that found higher literacy scores in more scripted models, Success for All developer Robert Slavin said in Education Week, that for decades, studies have been saying that every school had to invent its own path to reform. This is the absolute last nail in the coffin for that idea.5

Some teachers also say that scripted instruction works. Quoted in neatoday, Wilfrid Dunn, a teacher using Success for All in Little Rock, Arkansas, at a school with a large percentage of children from low-income families, said, This program is the right choice for the kids in our community.6 Some teachers say that they like the structure and sense of security scripted instruction gives their students, and that scripted instruction gives teachers a sense of security, too.7 Other teachers, however, seem caught in a dilemma, of feeling torn between seeing that scripted instruction may work well in some ways for some of their students but not for themselves as teachers.

I want to explore teachers reactions to scripted instruction in a historical perspective. To do so, I compare two old scripts, the Froebelian kindergarten and Montessori, with two modern scripts, Direct Instruction and Success for All. I chose these scripts because of their longevity and wide use. The kindergarten in its original Froebelian form lasted for almost a century; Montessori has been in existence for about a century and is still going strong. Direct Instruction is about fifty years old; Success for All is about twenty-five. In 2007, there were almost five thousand Montessori schools in the United States, some public, most private.8 As of 2006, parts of the Direct Instruction script were in use in approximately ten thousand schools in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom; the whole-school model was in use in about three hundred schools in the United States.9 In 200809, the whole-school Success for All model was in use in about twelve hundred schools in the United States, as well as internationally.10

In some ways, these scripts are not comparable. The Froebelian kindergarten and Montessori served somewhat younger children and were initially isolated from public elementary schools, where Direct Instruction and Success for All operate. But the original Froebelian kindergarten included children as old as seven or so and gradually became public, and Montessori added older children and now exists in public schools. Understanding these limitations, I chose these scripts because they have been extensively studied and offer documented perspectives on how teachers react to scripting.11

Some may object to my calling the Froebelian kindergarten and Montessori scripts. Indeed, the Froebelian kindergarten and Montessori were conceived as liberating alternatives to traditional pedagogy. Froebel promoted play rather than academics; Montessori emphasized childrens independent work with materials at the students own pace. Closer examination, however, reveals that the type of childrens play and work prescribed was highly structured, as were directions for teachers. Some nineteenth- and twentieth-century kindergarten leaders condemned the cult-like way many teachers followed Froebels methods. Today, Jacqueline Cossentino calls Montessori pedagogy ritualized practice, and compares Montessoris definition of childrens work in a Montessori classroom to a catechism.12 With conformist training and dogmatic expectations for teacher fidelity, the Froebelian kindergarten, Montessori, Direct Instruction, and Success for All exemplify what Andy Hargreaves calls performance-training sects, models that provide clearly defined, closely prescribed, and sometimes tightly scripted programs of instruction for teachers to follow that ensure compliance and consistency and claim a monopoly on truth and best practice.13

I should say at the outset that I am not going to engage in debate about the effectiveness of scripted instruction generally or of specific scripts. I am using scripted instruction somewhat loosely, to connote formally designed curriculum models based on theory and research, with specified content, methods, materials, and directions that teachers are supposed to follow in a prescribed way. Scripted instruction is sometimes equated with comprehensive school reform models purchased from external contractors. Not all comprehensive school reforms are scripted, however, or have the same level or amount of scripting. As Daniel K. Aladjem and Kathryn Borman describe, some models are philosophical; some have verbal scripts. Others consist mainly of suggested pedagogical activities and instruction. Brian Rowan, Richard Correnti, Robert J. Miller, and Eric M. Camburn describe differences in how scripted models exercise control, culturally through school environments, procedurally through routines, and professionally through school leadership.14 Many scripts exist as free-standing curricula.

In comparing the Froebelian kindergarten, Montessori, Direct Instruction, and Success for All, I looked for common factors that to me seemed important for understanding differences in teachers reactions to scripts, especially what some researchers call teacher autonomy, fidelity, and resistance. To a historian, these terms sound presentist, but they capture some of the ways that teachers respond to scripts. By autonomy, I mean whether teachers voluntarily choose to follow or resist a script and appear to make decisions on their own about how to teach. By fidelity, I mean whether teachers try to or think they are trying to follow a script faithfully. Since knowing whether teachers actually do follow a script requires evidence from classroom observations rarely available to historians, I rely largely on anecdotal evidence of what teachers have said or say, and use what observational evidence I could find on modern scripts. By resistance, I mean whether teachers say or show that they are resisting, subverting, or modifying a script. These terms can have positive or negative connotations in part, as Judi Randi and Lyn Corno point out, because researchers judgments about whether teacher autonomy, fidelity, and resistance are good or bad may be affected by their views on specific scripts and whether they see teaching as autonomous practice or implementation of curricula and methods.15

I focus on three factors that from my interpretation of sources on the Froebelian kindergarten, Montessori, Direct Instruction, and Success for All seem to influence autonomy, fidelity, and resistance when teachers react to scripts: (1) theory and research, (2) teacher training, and (3) teacher assessments of effectiveness. By theory and researchwhich in the case of the Froebelian kindergarten and Montessori are better termed educational philosophy, because there was little if any of what we would think of as research evaluating these programs, I mean the theory and research evidence script developers say that they used when designing and evaluating the script. By teacher training, I mean pre-service teacher education, apprenticeships, and in-service professional development. By teacher assessments of effectiveness, I mean evidence from teachers, in their own words, or as reported by interviewers and observers about why teachers think a script does or does not work. What might comparison of these factors in these four scripts suggest about teachers reactions to scripted instruction, about possible effects of scripted instruction on teachers, and about teacher education?


Using historical methodology, I studied primary and secondary sources on the Froebelian kindergarten, Montessori, Direct Instruction, and Success for All, and sampled the extensive literature on teacher autonomy, fidelity, and resistance (see Appendix A for a selective summary of some of the sources I consulted). In the research I read, most scholars were concerned about both teacher autonomy and fidelity and found much teacher resistance to externally imposed reforms. To mention a few key sources, Seymour Sarasons 1971 The Culture of the School and the Problem of Change set the tone for modern researchers who argue that ignoring teacher autonomy stymies reform efforts. In the late 1970s, Michael Apple, Henry Giroux, and others produced a stream of books critiquing technocratic reforms imposed by the State, and exhorted teachers to engage in critical pedagogy as a form of resistance. Richard Elmore, Milbrey McLaughlin, Michael Fullan, and others focused on teachers responses to federal and small s state-imposed reforms. David Cohens influential 1991 study of California teacher Mrs. Oublier, a pseudonym based on the French word to forget, showed that some teachers who thought that they were implementing externally imposed reforms were not actually doing so.16 As comprehensive school reform came under scrutiny in the late 1990s, researchers such as Thomas K. Glennan, Jr., Mark Berends, Susan K. Bodilly, and others began analyzing teacher buy-in and compliance, or lack thereof, along with depth of change and fidelity to scripts.17 With growing concern about teacher turnover, scholars began looking at the effects of scripting on new teachers.18

Educational psychologists and historians have also studied how teachers react to externally imposed reforms. Judi Randi and Lyn Corno analyze educational psychologists extensive research on teacher volition, autonomy, self-regulation, fidelity, innovation, and curriculum implementation.19 Among historians of education, Larry Cuban argues in How Teachers Taught: Constancy and Change in American Classrooms, 18801990 that for reforms to be instituted, teachers had to believe that they were good for students, would not undermine teacher authority, and could be adapted. In Tinkering Toward Utopia: A Century of Public School Reform, David Tyack and Larry Cuban document how teachers held on to the traditional grammar of schooling, in part because they did not trust administrators and outsiders to understand the daily realities of work with children.20


Attempts to prescribe what and how teachers teach have been ongoing for centuries. In fact, much if not most schooling in the past was individual learning, with students memorizing scripted texts and reciting them back to teachers, with almost none of what today would be recognized as instruction with teachers explaining content to students individually or in groups. In what has been called the instructional turn in the seventeenth century, general and subject-specific guides began appearing with detailed advice for teachers on how to teach.21 Manuals for teaching Latin, for example, gave schoolmasters a prescribed curriculum with directions, and walked the schoolmasters through the steps.22 In the Colonial and early Republican eras, school dames and masters, many with little or no formal pedagogical preparation, struggled to get large classes of students of varying ages and skill levels to memorize and recite from texts such as the New England Primer and Noah Websters ubiquitous speller, which served as literacy scripts.

As the movement for publicly supported common schools took hold in the nineteenth century, state officials such as Horace Mann and Henry Barnard began attempting to standardize curricula and instruction. Teaching, especially elementary school teaching, became a feminized occupation in which female teachers were supervised as hands in factory-like public schools with administrators in large urban systems instituting scripted instruction from the top. The curriculum for the Chicago public schools in 1862, for instance, prescribed what elementary school teachers should do every second of the day, in five- to twenty-minute intervals.23

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, some progressive educators, such as John Dewey, argued that teaching and curricula should be grounded in childrens interests rather than imposed by school administrators. Teachers at Deweys University of Chicago Laboratory School exercised great autonomy in collectively developing what and how they taught.24 Deweys informal approach prevailed in some private schools and in many schools of education where, along with Jean Piagets and Lev Vygotskys developmental psychology, the approach evolved into modern constructivism (the idea that children construct knowledge themselves), the theory that fuels much criticism over scripted instruction today. Progressive education was by no means uniform, however, and other progressive educators designed highly structured methods, such as Edward L. Thorndikes widely used textbooks and standardized achievement tests, which reduced teacher autonomy in public schools.25

Modern scripted instruction emerged in the 1950s, when the federal government began funding research and development and programs to promote national defense and fight poverty. Psychologists and other experts designed teacher-proof curricula in math and science and curriculum models for educationally disadvantaged children. Controversy erupted between behaviorists, who advocated programmed learning and behavior modification, and advocates of Open Education, who encouraged child and teacher autonomy and experimentation. In the 1980s, concerns about international economic competition propelled the growth of standards-based reforms that led to increased state control over what teachers taught. Professors from various academic disciplines, education research groups, professional organizations, and publishing companies designed new curricula, some more scripted than others, and states and school districts produced curriculum frameworks and guidelines, all of which limited teacher autonomy.26

Controversy over scripted instruction intensified with the proliferation of education management organizations and comprehensive school reform models in the 1990s. In 1991, media owner Christopher Whittle began Edison Schools, Inc., the largest for-profit provider of public education, which relies on a variety of scripts. In 1992, New American Schools, a non-profit corporation led by business leaders, began giving grants for the design and implementation of comprehensive school reform models. The Obey-Porter Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration Act of 1997, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, and the Reading First program included funding for comprehensive school reform programs and scripted instructional and curricular materials. The U.S. Department of Educations Institute for Education Sciences What Works Clearinghouses listing of effective curricula based on randomized field trials further heightened debate over control of teachers and teaching. As has been widely documented and decried, the mandated testing requirements of No Child Left Behind have substantially limited teachers autonomy as well, directly and indirectly.27



Despite the Romantic name (garden of children or childrens garden), the Froebelian kindergarten was a highly scripted curriculum based on Friedrich Froebels eclectic, pre-scientific philosophy of childrens natural development and on experiences with children. Froebel claimed that his Gifts and Occupationswooden blocks and other objects and activities such as pinpricking pieces of cardboard and weaving colored strips of paper, along with songs and gameswere derived from supposedly scientific laws of learning. As a tutor, Froebel tried out some of his ideas with children and experimented further once he founded his first kindergarten, in Blankenburg, Thuringia, in what is now Germany, in the 1830s. After Froebels death in 1852, his followers developed increasingly formal, standardized kindergarten methods.28

As in a religious sect, to which the kindergarten was sometimes compared, Froebels philosophy of education was intended to provide one source of correct, infallible knowledge and practice, which teachers were to believe in and follow faithfully. Although not complete verbal scripts, Froebelian kindergarten manuals contained lengthy, explicit instructions for almost every aspect of teaching. The directions for the Fifth Gift, for example, a cube made up of twenty-seven smaller cubes with which children make various prescribed forms, begin by telling teachers to place the box on the table with the cover downward, then to draw out the cover and raise the box with a steady hand, and proceed to show teachers how to guide children through hundreds of steps. In one popular Froebelian guide, the instructions for the Seventh Gift, forty-eight flat squares, run to ninety-two pages with 554 specific steps.29

For the most part, early kindergarten documents offer evidence of much teacher fidelity to the Froebelian script, although kindergarten leaders worried about nonstandard versions, of which there were some. Froebelians worked tirelessly to promote teacher fidelity when German immigrants brought the kindergarten to the United States in the 1850s and 1860s. American Froebelian Elizabeth Peabody harshly censured teachers who altered kindergarten practice and listed false kindergartens with the names of their directors. Throughout the 1870s and 1880s, the American Froebel Union and other professional kindergarten associations continued to condemn variation.30

The emergence of developmental psychology at the end of the nineteenth century weakened teachers belief in Froebels educational philosophy and helped persuade some teachers to modify the script. While studying in the 1890s with psychologist G. Stanley Hall, who wrote about the kindergartens adverse impact on childrens nervous systems, progressive kindergarten leaders Anna Bryan and Alice Putnam overtly sought teacher input through a questionnaire designed to probe if teachers thought that a fixed regime, as of gifts and occupations, allow us to find out or to develop the natural senses or interests and aptitudes of children?31 Dewey condemned Frobels philosophy and methods for being artificial and insufficiently child-centered, and called the youngest class at his University of Chicago Laboratory School the sub-primary department, not a kindergarten.32


Although many teachers appear to have reacted positively to their autonomously chosen Froebelian training, not all teachers accepted it passively. Tightly controlled, Froebelian teachers studied together under the watchful eye of experienced kindergarten directors in closed professional learning communities. Novices spent one to two years going through Froebels methods, making notebooks with sample activities, and apprenticing in model kindergartens. Training continued once teachers were hired. Assistants taught under the supervision of an experienced Froebelian kindergarten teacher, and in public kindergartens taught within kindergarten departments with a director who made visits to observe and evaluate their practice.33 Drawings and photographs, albeit many probably staged, show teachers carefully guiding children using Froebelian materials, with diagrams on the blackboard that the children appear to be dutifully copying. A few Froebelian kindergarten teachers in training resisted, however. A student teacher in Boston in the 1880s, for instance, described fearful lectures on Froebelian activities, examinations that took forever, and a horrid practice teaching lesson during which the children acted like fury while the kindergarten director was observing.34 As kindergarten training moved into normal schools, colleges, and universities, Froebelian teachers were exposed to a wider range of courses and to students and professors with different perspectives.



Most early documents of Froebelian teachers contain very positive assessments of the efficacy of Froebels script. Although some laudatory accounts were literary fictions used for fundraising, they suggest that Froebelian inculcation had a deep impact on teachers beliefs.35 Lucy Wheelocks popular story A Lilys Mission, of how a kindergarten transformed a familys life, is indicative of Froebelians faith. But Wheelock, who founded a Froebelian training college, was also one of the first to stop using some materials in the way Froebel prescribed. She dropped fine pricking and the drawing on paper marked off in small squares because she found these activities inappropriate for young children, and adapted the script in other ways, as well.36

Kindergarten teachers assessments of the ineffectiveness of Froebelian methods with children from low-income backgrounds, to whom the Froebelian kindergarten in the United States was not initially introduced, was a major impetus for resistance to the script. When teachers working in charity kindergartens for the poor in the 1880s and 1890s encountered difficulties with the Froebelian script, the teachers changed it. Speaking at the National Education Association in 1890, Anna Bryan criticized the inflexibility and lack of relevance of Froebelian methods to the daily lives of city children and argued for free play rather than dictation play. Sounding like a modern critic of scripted instruction, Bryan advocated learning that was not a passive literal sequence, but an active, creative one, and encouraged teachers to use everyday objects and activities, not just Froebelian Gifts and Occupations.37 Soon other kindergarten teachers began adapting Froebelian methods and materials in ways the teachers deemed more relevant to their students needs and lives.

Open dissension among teacher trainers and teachers led to more questioning of the effectiveness of the Froebelian script. Fierce debates broke out at national, state, and local kindergarten conferences over whether and how Froebelian methods should be changed. Bryans protégée, Teachers College professor Patty Smith Hill, wrote the International Kindergarten Unions Progressive Report, which outlined what became the more flexible, modern kindergarten.38 Hill, who designed larger blocks and introduced free expression through music and other creative activities, taught many younger kindergarten teachers to modify Froebels methods. Some, often older, kindergarten teachers chose to stay faithful to the original Froebelian script, but as kindergartens moved into public schools, the push for academics increased. With intelligence testing and other standardized tests in use in some kindergartens by the 1920s, some teachers were dividing children into ability groups.39

Without a uniform philosophy communicated in a closed professional learning community and with ongoing criticism of Froebels unscientific principles and effectiveness with children from different backgrounds, the Froebelian script as such began disappearing. By the 1930s, observational studies in public kindergartens showed that most teachers were employing a mix of methods, and no longer using Froebelian terminology.40 Many kindergartens remained distinct from first grades, but long periods of play with blocks gradually gave way to structured learning centers and academic readiness activities. Under pressure from the standards and accountability movements, many kindergarten teachers now teach reading and administer standardized tests. Scripted comprehensive school reform models such as Direct Instruction and Success for All are in use in some kindergartens today.41



Similar to the Froebelian kindergarten, Maria Montessoris educational philosophywhich she called scientific pedagogyseems to have fostered much initial teacher fidelity, as well as later resistance. Similar to Froebel, from whom she got some of her ideas, Montessori claimed that her educational philosophy was infallible. Upon receipt of a medical degree in 1896 and drawing upon the sensory teaching approaches of Jean Gaspard Itard and Edouard Seguin, anthropology, and other work in psychology, philosophy, and education, Montessori began experimenting with methods to remediate mentally defective children. Blocked by authorities from opening a school for normal children, she opened her first Casa dei Bambini or Childrens House in a Roman slum in 1907, where she developed her formal techniques for educating young children. Her son Mario later devised methods and materials for older children.42

Based on her philosophy and work with children, Montessori prescribed a highly specified set of activities, materials, and methods, including practical exercises (washing tables and other daily care activities), sensorial apparatus (blocks, graduated cylinders, color chips, and other equipment), and academic materials (sandpaper letters, counting beads, and fraction boards); all of which were to be used in a precise, uniform, way.43 Children were supposed to work with the materials independently but exactly, at the childrens own pace, the freedom within structure that is the hallmark of her approach. Teachers were to carefully prepare the environment, demonstrate the materials, and then observe the children, without whole-group instruction.

Montessoris manuals contain many explicit directions. For sensory learning about colors, for instance, the teacher is told to hold up a red object and say, This is red, raise her voice, and pronounce the word slowly and clearly, show a blue object, say This is blue, and then, to be sure the child understands, say, Give me the redGive me the blue.44 Directions for the sixty-four colored tablets tell the teacher to present two or three of the tablets of the same colour, but of different tone, showing the child how to arrange these in order of gradation and then place before the child the eight gradations of different colours and show the child how to separate the groups and then arrange each group in gradation.45 Montessori manuals also include some general oral scripts for introducing connections among concepts, language, and objects.

Harsh criticism of Montessoris philosophy and pedagogy led to a split in the movement after Montessoris triumphal visit to the United States in 1913. In 1914, Teachers College professor and Dewey disciple William Heard Kilpatrick condemned Montessoris methods as insufficiently social, unwelcoming to creativity, and unscientific. Montessoris sensory training theory and materials, Kilpatrick said, were outdated and useless; her apparatus was a limited series of exactly distinct and very precise activities, formal in character and very remote from social interests and connections.46 Some kindergarten leaders were critical, too. In the Montessori system, Patty Smith Hill wrote, imaginative play is not only not provided for, but frowned upon as a somewhat unfortunate pathological tendency of early childhood.47 Although there were some one thousand Montessori schools in the United States in 1925, the American movement declined.48 Montessori and her son Mario founded the Association Montessori International in 1929 to link and control the rapidly growing number of schools world-wide, which followed Montessoris original model.

A new, less tightly scripted form of American Montessori began in the United States in the 1950s, an outgrowth in part due to teacher resistance to the rigidity of Montessoris orthodox educational philosophy. Recruited and supported by wealthy Catholic women, Nancy McCormick Rambusch started a school and training center in Greenwich, Connecticut, in 1958, where she created a more flexible version of Montessori that caught on in private schools primarily for middle- and upper-class children. After some back and forth with Mario Montessori, who insisted on maintaining control over the original Montessori Method and materials, Rambusch founded the American Montessori Society in 1960.49 Objections to Montessori scripting arose again, but the pure original Association Montessori Internationale model gradually came back in the United States, and both versions are now thriving, such that teachers can autonomously choose either the tighter original script or the looser, modified version.50

Recent insider research that Montessori works has been invoked to support a return to the original Montessori script. In an article in Science, psychologists Angeline Stoll Lillard and Nicole Else-Quest document positive results on cognitive and academic measures for children in a traditional Association Montessori Internationaleapproved public Montessori school in inner-city Milwaukee.51 The American Montessori Society also sponsors research on the effects of Montessori.52


The two Montessori societies offer different forms of teacher training, both of which are autonomously chosen and are supposed to take place in closed professional learning communities under the supervision of experienced Montessori directors. With the rapid spread of public Montessori programs, howeverby the mid-1990s, there were some two hundred fifty public Montessori programs, most of which were not affiliated with either the Association Montessori International or the American Montessori SocietyMontessori training and practice has become very variable.53

The original Association Montessori Internationale training is tightly controlled. Association Montessori Internationale teachers study for at least a year or more under the scrutiny of a Montessori-approved trainer who has been a teacher for at least ten years, four of which in apprenticeship to other trainers. Nearly every move an Association Montessori Internationale student teacher makes is prescribed. Novices spend hours reading Montessori texts, observing children, practicing with materials, memorizing how to reproduce up to two thousand specific lessons, student teaching in a Montessori school, and must pass oral and written examinations.54 Professional development through annual workshops, required refresher courses, and international congresses reinforces the Montessori repertoire.

American Montessori Society training also covers Montessori basics but is more variable, as evidenced by the many American Montessori Society teachers who autonomously modify the Montessori script, with apparent approval of the society. Sessions at the American Montessori Societys 2008 conference, for instance, included origami, fractals, Updating Montessori Mathematics, and one on how to Liberate Your Sensorial Materials.55

Although many Montessorians seem to accept the training, in part because they have chosen to do it and pay for it voluntarily, as with Froebelian training there is some evidence of resistance. Keith Whitescarver and Jacqueline Cossentino record a Montessori student teacher who said that after the tedious work of analyzing our movements for days on end and realizing that there are some thirty-five steps to folding a napkin, a student raised her hand and asked, What does folding napkins have to do with world peace? The Montessori trainer assured the student that one day she would see how it did.56


Both forms of Montessori training seem to foster teacher belief in Montessoris theory and the effectiveness of her methods, though the methods teachers are assessing are different. At the beginning of the movement, Montessoris writings were revered as sacred texts to be followed faithfully. As early Montessori devotee Anna Maccheroni, who observed Montessori teach a training course in 1909, wrote, the teachers seemed to accept the Montessori idea with great hope.57 Most modern teacher assessments of Montessori that are available are highly positive. Likely meant in part for public consumption, excerpts from publications of the Association Montessori Internationale are filled with praise for Montessoris original approach and documentation of teacher fidelity to her methods.58 Although the very existence of the American Montessori Society is evidence of teacher resistance, the American Montessori Society Web site posts many positive teacher comments, as well.59

Deeply divided between purists and modifiers, the Montessori movement is experiencing fast growth. Montessori charter schoolsthe first charter school in the country was a Montessori schoolcan get public support with less pressure for change than public Froebelian kindergartens had, but some Montessori programs use workbooks and standardized tests and must meet the mandates of No Child Left Behind.60 If Montessori follows the path of the Froebelian kindergarten, modification will continue in American Montessori Society programs, especially public ones. Unlike the Froebelian kindergarten, however, the traditional script remains in Association Montessori Internationale schools. As with older orthodox Froebelians and modern designers of scripted instruction, some Montessorians contend that there is a tradeoff between teacher autonomy and teacher fidelity, with positive effects accruing only if teachers faithfully implement the original Montessori model.61 It will be interesting to see if new Montessori research and a climate of public acceptance help persuade more teachers to follow the original script, or increase modification.



Designed to improve the education of disadvantaged children from low-income backgrounds, Direct Instructionnot to be confused with the more general term for teaching content directly with practice and drillswas developed in the 1960s by Siegfried Engelmann and psychologist Carl Bereiter at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where Engelmann got his bachelors degree in philosophy. Engelmann and psychologist Wesley Becker developed the Direct Instruction System for Teaching Arithmetic and Reading (DISTAR) reading and mathematics curricula, now called Reading Mastery and Mathematics Mastery, published and distributed by SRA/McGraw-Hill, and marketed by the Association for Direct Instruction and another for-profit education company, and the not-for-profit National Institute for Direct Instruction at the University of Oregon, where Engelmann is now based.62 Implemented in sites nationwide when Direct Instruction was a model in the federally supported Project Follow Through, Direct Instruction has become a full immersion comprehensive school reform model, although a number of schools use Direct Instruction scripts separately.

Direct Instruction consists of teacher-directed, fast-paced lessons on skills and content, with student choral reading and response, immediate corrections, and extrinsic rewards. Students at the lowest skill levels are taught in small, homogeneous ability groups; students at upper skill levels are grouped in a whole-class format. Direct Instruction concentrates primarily on reading and mathematics but also provides curricula for science, writing, history, fact learning, and handwriting. Reading and language arts are taught for about an hour and a half both morning and afternoon, with social studies and science content integrated into literacy materials.63

Direct Instruction manuals contain very explicit directions and lengthy verbal scripts. The introduction to Presentation Book A for Level I of Reading Mastery tells teachers that Direct Instruction guides specify each activity in each lesson and tell you how to present it. The script for Lesson 1, for example, tells teachers: Lets say some sounds. Listen to the sound: mmm. When I hold up my finger were going to say (pause) mmm.64 Other lessons follow in a similarly scripted way.

Since Direct Instructions inception, Direct Instructions behaviorist theory, research evidence, tightly scripted methods, and restraints on teacher autonomy have been a lightning rod for controversy. In the 1970s and 1980s, Piagetian preschool experts condemned Direct Instruction for being developmentally inappropriate, such as David Elkind, who said that Direct Instruction was especially harmful for young disadvantaged children, because it imprints them with a rote-learning style that could be damaging later on.65 Engelmann defends Direct Instruction vigorously and is adamant that fidelity to the method, not teacher autonomy, is important. In fact, the About Direct Instruction page on the National Institute for Direct Instruction Web site states that the popular valuing of teacher creativity and autonomy must give way to willingness to follow certain carefully prescribed instructional practices.66 As Engelmann told The New Yorker in 2004, We dont give a damn what the teacher thinks, what the teacher feels, on their own time they can hate it. We dont care, as long as they do it.67

Politics also may have played a role in some critiques of Direct Instruction. Engelmann claims that, despite his own left-leaning politics, the federal governments failure to advertise much-debated research findings on positive effects of Direct Instruction in the Follow Through experiment was due to liberal political bias. In the scathing books War against the Schools Academic Child Abuse and Teaching Needy Kids in Our Backward System, and other publications, he attributes much of the controversy to ideological stereotyping of Direct Instruction as a politically conservative approach.68

A bitter exchange in Wisconsin in 2001 documents the politicization of Direct Instruction, and teachers awareness of it. When the conservative Bradley Foundationsupported Wisconsin Policy Research Institute published a report that teachers were leading an autonomous insurgency to introduce Direct Instruction reading programs because the teachers had heard that the programs were effective but had not been given information about them in their teacher education programs, the Wisconsin State Reading Association countered with a report excoriating the policy institute report as inaccurate conservative propaganda, and provided teachers with data and slides the teachers could use to refute the institutes findings.69 More recently, Direct Instruction got tarred in the acrimonious reading wars during President George W. Bushs administration.70

Controversy has also centered on insider research and methodological and statistical disputes about Direct Instructions effectiveness. In 2005, however, a federally sponsored, independent report by the American Institute for Research ranked evidence for Direct Instructions effectiveness as moderately strong, and other independent research has found positive effects.71


Unlike Froebelian and Montessori training, many if not most teachers do not choose to become trained in Direct Instruction autonomously. They may join the faculty of a school knowing that it uses Direct Instruction, but are more likely to be assigned to such a school. Direct Instruction teachers receive relatively brief pre-service training, in part because with tight scripting Direct Instruction designers may not think that longer training is necessary. Direct Instruction training is supposed to consist of twenty-four hours of pre-service and sixty hours of in-service training, supervised by consultants who monitor fidelity. Appointed or hired teachers serve as building coordinators and peer coaches; the principal also receives Direct Instruction training. In-service training and coaching continues in subsequent years. Direct Instruction teachers may also get support and professional development from the Association for Direct Instruction, which, with a little more than a thousand members, puts on conferences, publishes newsletters and a journal, and is organizing local chapters.72

After being introduced to rationales, teachers guides, presentation books, and other materials, teachers in training are carefully walked through the steps of minutely scripted Direct Instruction lessons. Videos on the National Institute for Direct Instruction Web site show trainers telling teachers how to state expectations, model correct examples, use hand signals, and lead a group of children through phonics exercises. If a student gets something wrong, the teacher is instructed to say again and repeat the lesson over and over until the entire group has given the correct answers at least twice. A video shows a teacher writing reward points on a chart after each correct response.73 Trainers state directions slowly and carefully and stop for trainees to practice the steps. One teacher in a movie clip Why Use Scripts, on the Association for Direct Instruction Web site, talks about how hard it was to learn the script; another teacher emphasizes that teachers must practice a lot at home, and describes how she practiced in front of her mirror before introducing lessons to her students.74 Trainers also demonstrate scripts for how to handle behavioral problems and have teachers practice these, as well.


Teacher assessments of Direct Instruction tend to be polarized, and reveal tensions between teachers attitudes toward the effects of the script on students and on themselves as teachers. Anecdotally, some teachers at the Seifert Elementary School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for instance, where the principal autonomously adopted Direct Instruction in 2001, were very positive about the script for their students. Structure, many of the teachers said, was what made Direct Instruction work, along with the sense of security it gave students. First-grade teacher Kelly Collins comments, however, epitomize the professional dilemma Direct Instruction creates for some teachers. Teachers resent it because its so scripted, Collin told a reporter, but is it about me being happy or them (the students) learning? Direct Instruction was successful as a form of reading instruction; Collin added, the students can read anything, and that breeds happiness, but it is unclear if this happiness is for both students and teachers.75

In an independent study of comprehensive school reform published by the Urban Institute in 2006, Georges Vernez and Dan Goldhaber found similarly mixed teacher reactions. Some teachers said that they supported Direct Instruction, because it worked for students, especially for low-achieving students, and because Direct Instruction was easy to implement and gave teachers security in their life. Vernez and Goldhaber also found lack of fidelity in the three Direct Instruction schools studied. Some teachers resisted, complying unevenly, and did not follow the script to the letter, saying that they changed the script to make Direct Instruction more interesting and to enhance students reading comprehension.76

Controversy over Direct Instruction continues. Well entrenched, Direct Instruction may continue to grow with increased federal education funding, but much will depend on the economy and education policy and spending at state and local levels.



The most eclectic of the four scripts, Success for All combines different theories of learning and has been modified based on ongoing research. Similar to Montessori and Direct Instruction, Success for All was designed for educationally at risk children; similar to Direct Instruction, Success for All continues to be used primarily with children from low-income backgrounds. Started by a team of married psychologists, Robert Slavin and Nancy Madden, who met as undergraduates at Reed College in Oregon, where they volunteered in elementary schools, Success for All evolved when Slavin and Madden were in graduate school at Johns Hopkins University in the 1980s and is located at the nearby non-profit Success for All Foundation in Baltimore. Proponents of theories of cooperative learning and childrens social construction of knowledge very different from the behaviorist theory behind Direct Instruction, Slavin and Madden came to think that instruction would be more effective if it was explicitly linked with curriculum content, and developed a comprehensive model with curricula for reading and mathematics, with science and social studies components, for grades pre-K to five.77

The most widely used comprehensive school reform model in the country, by 2001 Success for All had been adopted by 1,800 schools in 49 states.78 After enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act, however, Success for All shrunk to 1,300 schools in 200304, in part because some school districts thought that federal Reading First guidelines precluded use of Success for All, which prevented schools from using their Title I funds to purchase the model.79 Slavin filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Educations inspector general alleging bias in how Reading First contracts were awarded, which contributed to an investigation and the ultimate resignation of the Reading First director.80

More a collection of best practices rather than one best practice, Success for All includes direct instruction of some content but also emphasizes that children should take responsibility for their own learning. Relying on phonics, comprehension, and other literacy techniques, Success for All reading instruction takes place in highly structured, uninterrupted ninety-minute blocks during which students are regrouped across classes and grade levels by ability and teachers work as teams. Students are assessed every eight weeks and regrouped quarterly, as needed. Whole-class grouping is used for other subjects. The model also includes one-on-one tutoring, a social problem-solving curriculum, a family support coordinator who does outreach to families, and a school leadership team that monitors the curriculum. Available only through the Success for All Foundation, the model comes as a package with training and other forms of support.81

Success for All relies upon scripts, albeit less tightly scripted ones than Direct Instruction. In an example of a tutoring session, the directions are explicitly called a script and include questions the tutor is supposed to ask, along with model student answers. After reviewing a story, the discussion between the tutor (T) and student (S) goes as follows:

 T: What about dressing up?

 S: Well, this boy wants to go to a costume party and doesnt know what he can be.

 T: Yes, why cant he decide what he wants to be?82

Similar directions are included for other lessons, with detailed instructions on how to use the script and explanations of why the script is effective. Success for All also specifies hand signals that teachers are to use, such as holding their right hands over their heads like a stop sign to get children to be quiet and making a V with the index and middle fingers for children to sit still for active listening.83

Unlike Engelmann, Slavin and Madden are concerned about the potentially negative impact of scripts on teacher autonomy. As researcher Donald Peurach notes, Slavin and Madden do not want Success for All to be perceived by teachers as a bureaucratic, automatic, institutionally imposed model to be complied with mindlessly, hence the policy that about 80 percent of teachers in a school are supposed to vote to approve of Success for All in a secret ballot.84 Concerns have been raised, however, that some teachers may feel pressure from school administrators to vote for the model; some but not many schools have voted the model down.85 Rather than reducing individual teacher autonomy, Madden says that Success for Alls team approach creates support and gives a different shape to teachers attitudes about the whole school working collaboratively to achieve its goals.86 For years, Success for All was criticized for relying on evidence from its own insider research.87 More recently, independent research showing positive effects of Success for All appears to have quieted some of these critiques.88


Similar to Direct Instruction, many teachers do not autonomously choose to be trained in Success for All in that they join a school that has already adopted the model. Also similar to Direct Instruction, Success for All offers quite limited pre-service teacher training. Led by trainers from the Success for All foundation, teachers get three days of initial in-school training before school begins, including videos, micro-teaching demonstrations, and work with materials and electronic technology. Principals get five and a half days of training. Without practice with real students, teachers are expected to use Success for All as a whole on the first day of school. A school-appointed reading facilitator provides ongoing training throughout the year, assisted by the principal, and Success for All staff return for sixteen days of on-site training during the first year, and fifteen days thereafter. Principals attend two-and-a-half-day experienced site conferences. On-site training and monitoring of fidelity continue, along with optional professional development training modules. Unlike the Froebelian kindergarten, Montessori, and Direct Instruction, Success for All does not have a professional association, though teachers may attend special events and conferences.89


Although many teachers using Success for All seem to react positively to the models extensive research base, overall teacher assessments of Success for All are mixed. A veteran teacher interviewed by Amanda Datnow and Marisa Castellano in their qualitative study of two Success for All schools in California said that she liked Success for All because it made teaching reading almost as a science rather than, Well, I think Ill do this today, or that today.90 Success for All posts many other positive comments from teachers about its research on its Web site.91

There have been some highly publicized examples of teacher criticism and resistance to Success for All, however. In 2001, an anti-Success for All Web site, alt-SFA, was started by George Roemer, a fifth-grade teacher from Florida who claimed that Success for All had dampened his students interest in reading, and Georgia Hedrick, a Nevada teacher who blamed Success for All for her retirement from teaching. Opposed to Success for Alls demand for relentless fidelity to the script, which she thought insulted teachers and destroyed the fun of teaching and discovery and development of what is learned in that discovery, Hedrick posted her criticisms online.92

Further evidence of individual teacher resistance appeared in New York Times reporter Abby Goodnoughs book Miss Moffetts First Year, in which Goodnough describes New York Teaching Fellow Donna Moffetts reactions to Success for All. Moffett had looked forward to reading stories of her own choosing to her students several times a day, a ritual she believed would inspire them with joy and imaginative spirit.93 Like some of the teachers at her school who called Success for All Stress for All, Moffett found that switching to different classrooms and teachers for the morning reading period made some of her students nervous, and could be chaotic. Moffett also found Success for All scripts and hand signals hard to learn, disliked the repetition, got bored, and could see that many of her students did, too.94 Moffett told Goodnough that she did not like the rigidity of Success for All but expressed a professional dilemma in that as a new, relatively untrained teacher, she found it even more difficult to teach other subjects to high standards with no script to guide her.95

Independent studies of teacher assessments of Success for All show a similar range of teacher reactions. Datnow and Castellano found that almost all of the teachers interviewed thought that Success for All was working well in teaching students to read. Possibly because Success for All is eclectic and relatively neutral, more here is the evidence for why it works than this is the only method that works; however, Datnow and Castellano found teachers who were generally supportive but not very enthusiastic. As one teacher put it, There is not this Rah rah, yeah, this is what were doing feeling about SFA.96 Similarly, Rowan, Correnti, Miller, and Camburn found that Success for Alls heavy reliance on monitoring of procedures and routines failed to stimulate a strong sense of professional community.97

Other independent researchers have also found mixed teacher assessments. Vernez and Goldhaber report teachers resentment of the imposition of Success for All, and concerns that its script does not adequately prepare students for required state tests. Vernez and Goldhaber found teachers who liked Success for All, tried to comply with it, but adjusted lessons to meet students needs. Teachers who said that they did not follow the recipe, complained about Success for Alls one size fits all approach, and said that the script was demeaning. Some teachers said that they were faking it when the Success for All trainer came to observe.98 Datnow and Castellano also found teachers who adjusted Success for All time guidelines, got permission from their school facilitators to add some color and substitute non-prescribed activities, and, akin to David Cohens Mrs. Oublier, observed that what teachers said about Success for All and what they were actually doing in their classrooms were not always the same. Most of the teachers were adapting Success for All in various ways, no matter what the teachers said.99 In another study, Datnow, Hubbard, and Mehan found Success for All schools in which teachers openly mediated scripts, co-constructing them to fit the local context.100

With a large central office organization, sophisticated research staff, and Spanish-language editions, Success for All is poised to grow. As with Direct Instruction, federal money may help, but much will depend on state and local education policies, budgets, and spending.


In each of these four scripts, teachers reactions to theory and research, training, and scripts effectiveness were mixed, more so in some scripts than others. The relationship of these factors to teacher autonomy, fidelity, and resistance was complex and contextualized. Many of the teachers about whom I had information, especially the early Froebelian kindergarten and Montessori teachers, were initially very positive about the scripts but then modified them when the teachers assessed the scripts to be ineffective. Some Froebelian and Montessori teachers made autonomous, overt, substantial changes when the social class background of the students changed. Interestingly, both types of modifications resulted in more flexible scripts, even though the backgrounds of the students with whom the scripts were being used differed.

Direct Instruction and Success for All teachers, many if not most of whom did not autonomously choose these scripts and who received very brief pre-service training, seem to have made fewer overt changes. This may have been in part because, unlike the Froebelian kindergarten and American Montessori, Direct Instruction and Success for All scripts continue to be used with the students for whom the scripts were designed, though both Direct Instruction and Success for All are now in use with more students from upper-income backgrounds.101 Many, if not most, Direct Instruction and Success for All teachers, however, do seem to modify these scripts somewhat at the classroom level.

My exploration of teachers reactions to the Froebelian kindergarten, Montessori, Direct Instruction, and Success for All raises many questions. Does autonomously choosing to be trained in a script affect how teachers react to it? Froebelian and Montessori teachers chose freely in advance to be trained in these scripts. Many, if not most, Direct Instruction and Success for All teachers are introduced to these scripts after the teachers have been teaching for a while or as new teachers, because the school in which they work or that hires them has adopted the model. Teachers were autonomously attracted to the Froebelian kindergarten and Montessori scripts in part because they saw them as pedagogical and social movements. Some Direct Instruction and Success for All teachers seem to evince some of this sense of mission, but less consistently and fervently. Does the initial autonomous choice of a script contribute to some teachers then autonomously and overtly modifying it later when their perceptions of their students needs change? Here again, differences in Froebelian and Montessori teachers reactions should be noted.

Did the longer, more intensive training, including pre-service training in professional learning communities, that most Froebelian kindergarten and Montessori teachers received make it easier for them to modify scripts, in part because it gave these teachers a deep repertoire of pedagogical skills?102 If so, are there unpredictable contradictions at the heart of scripting and teacher training, in that extensive, pre-service training in a professional learning community may increase both teacher fidelity and autonomy? The traditionalist Association Montessori Internationale model may be an exception, but Cossentino says that she has seen considerable variation in Association Montessori Internationale schools at the classroom level, too.103 Some Froebelian kindergarten, Montessori, Direct Instruction, and Success for All teachers may have had other types of training and classroom experience they could call upon, as well, so I want to be careful about not overstating these differences.

Do comparisons of the histories of these four scripts have implications for teacher education? Traditional teacher educators may want to experiment with offering teachers in training a choice of methods, including scripted ones, in which to specialize within separate professional learning communities within teacher education programs. To do so, teacher education programs might have to hire professors with conflicting views about what methods are most effective. Such open conflicts about methods within a teacher education program as opposed to in professional and research literature, relatively rare in my more than thirty-five years in teacher education, might be healthy, for teachers in training and faculty.104 Traditional teacher education programs and privately controlled scripted models such as Direct Instruction and Success for All would also have to find a way to collaborate more directly with each other.

Script designers might want to experiment with ways to give teachers more explicit autonomy in choosing to use their scripts and in changing them, and provide more pre-service training. I realize that these possibilities fly in the face of entrenched views of teacher education and roles on both sides of the unscripted-scripted divide, which my research and that of others suggest is much blurrier in practice than in theory, and might be costly and impractical, but with the flurry of critiques of traditional teacher education and continuing criticism of scripted instruction, such experimentation seems warranted.

At the classroom level, these brief histories of the Froebelian kindergarten, Montessori, Direct Instruction, and Success for All suggest that most teachers do not follow scripts exactly. Scripting controls teachers in some ways, but as with most official curricula and instruction, there is a gap between prescriptions and what happens in real classrooms.105 Over time, like most Froebelian kindergarten and many Montessori teachers, will Direct Instruction and Success for All teachers gradually exercise more explicit control over these scripts, as many seem to be doing informally? Or does the privatized nature of how modern comprehensive school reform models are designed and controlled make such overt autonomy unlikely?

Does scripting increase teacher turnover? In a 2005 Teachers College Record article on teachers at Deweys school, Anne Durst movingly describes her own experience as a first-year teacher in an urban school in California with a tightly scripted reading program. Durst felt intellectually parched and left, but being a second-year teacher in a new charter school where teachers were trying to invent curricula was equally frustrating, so much so that she felt drained and left teaching altogether.106

Designers of scripted instruction argue that scripts may lessen teacher turnover and make beginning teaching easier. Some new teachers say this, too, as New York City Teaching Fellow Donna Moffett did when she compared teaching reading with Success for All to teaching other subjects without a script. The professional dilemma of feeling uncertain about their ability to construct curricula independently but trapped by scripts may be most acute for new teachers with relatively little pre-service training. One of my former students, who did not complete Wellesley Colleges teacher education program, who is in her first year of Teach for America in a school that uses scripts, told me that even though she disliked scripts, she thought that she probably needed them because of her very limited training.107

The histories of these four scripts suggest that many teachers using scripted instruction, whether new or veteran, experience tensions between what the teachers see as the positive effects of scripts on students and negative effects on the teachers own autonomy, though not all of the teachers documented here saw positive effects or expressed a desire for more autonomy. Many of the teachers using scripts seemed torn, caught in a professional dilemma of wanting what is best for their students, some of whom may be responding well to aspects of scripted instruction, and the teachers own needs for more professional autonomy. In a broader sense, of course, this dilemma is at the heart of all teaching, or should be, no matter what science-based research may suggest about best practices. The match among teachers, students, and practices is necessarily complicated and individualized; scripted instruction makes the dilemma more obvious and arguably more painful. Does scripting lessen the attraction of teaching as a profession? Another Wellesley College student told me that she had been warned by a teacher friend not to become a teacher, because youre not allowed to be creative, you have to follow a script.108 There may be future teachers, however, who desire the certainty that following a script seems to provide.

Inside classrooms, teaching has always involved many things out of teachers control. Nested within layers of internal and external push and pull, teacher autonomy, fidelity, and resistance are not simple phenomena. Scripted instruction has been with us for centuries and seems here to stay. We need to know more about how teachers think about and use different kinds of scripts, under what conditions, and why and how teachers attempt to modify the scripts. We need more contextualized, comparative, long-range studies on relationships among scripts theory and research, teacher training, and teacher assessment of effectiveness and autonomy, fidelity, and resistance, and whether and how these factors affect teacher turnover and new teachers. We should continue to watch the history of Montessori, Direct Instruction, Success for All, and other scripts to see what more we can learn about the role of teachers in the messy business of education reform.

In my experience, it takes content and pedagogical knowledge, practice, feedback, support, and time to develop a deep repertoire of teaching skills. With continuing pressure from accountability-driven education policy, rapid churning of instructional models, spread of scripting, and growth of alternative teacher certification, more new teachers may be caught in Anne Dursts and Donna Moffetts dilemma, of resenting the imposition of scripted instruction yet feeling overwhelmed by devising new curricula and instructional methods of their own, a dilemma to which policymakers and educators should be more responsive.


1. Lisa Delpit, Dewitt Wallace-Readers Digest Distinguished Lecture, Educators as Seed People Growing a New Future, Educational Researcher 32 (October 2003): 14. I am grateful to Lyn Corno, Jacqueline Cossentino, Kurt Engelmann, Donna Marie Harris, Ken Hawes, Nancy Madden, and anonymous reviewers at Teachers College Record for their helpful comments, and to Doug Meyer for bibliographic assistance.

2. R. Keith Sawyer, Creative Teaching: Collaborative Discussion as Disciplined Improvisation, Educational Researcher 33 (February 2004): 14.

3. See among others, Landon E. Beyer and Michael Apple, The Curriculum (New York: State University of New York Press, 1998); D. Jean Clandinin and F. Michael Connelly, Teacher as Curriculum Maker, in Handbook of Research on Curriculum: A Project of the American Educational Research Association, ed. Phillip W. Jackson, 363401 (New York: Macmillan, 1992); Andy Hargreaves, Teaching in the Knowledge Society (New York: Teachers College Press, 2003); Richard M. Ingersoll, Who Controls Teachers Work? Power and Accountability in Americas Schools (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003); Carrie Lobman and Matthew Lundquist, Unscripted Learning (New York: Teachers College Press, 2007); Alex Molnar, School Commercialism: From Democratic Ideal to Market Commodity (New York: Routledge, 2005); Susan Ohanian, One Size Fits Few (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1999); and Lee S. Shulman, Autonomy and Obligation: The Remote Control of Teaching, in Lee Shulman, The Wisdom of Practice (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2004), 13364.

4. Dawn Christiana and James Lopez, quoted in Sabrina Holcomb, Reading by the Script: Whats All the Fuss About?, neatoday (February 2005): 22, 25. On teachers, see also Anne Durst, The Union of Intellectual Freedom and Cooperation: Learning from the University of Chicagos Laboratory School, Teachers College Record 107 (May 2005): 95884; Richard J. Meyer, Captives of the Script: Killing Us Softly with Phonics, Language Arts 79 (July 2002): 45261; Marika Paez, Professional Development that Works: Gimme that School Where Everythings Scripted! One Teachers Journey toward Effective Literacy Instruction, Phi Delta Kappan 84 (October 2003): 75783.

5. Robert Slavin quoted in Debra Viadero, Researchers Probe Black-Box of School Improvement, Education Week (December 16, 2009): 9. See also Debra Viadero, In Whole-School Reform, Staying True to Model Matters, Education Week (May 16, 2007): 1213.

6. Wilfrid Dunn quoted in Holcomb, Reading by the Script, 23.

7. Kelly Collin quoted in Alan J. Borsuk, Learning the drill, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel online, March 1, 2001, http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/mar01/
siefert02030101a.asp (accessed July 29, 2008); Georges Vernez and Dan Goldhaber, Implementing Comprehensive School Reform Models, in Examining Comprehensive School Reform, ed. Daniel K. Aladjem and Kathryn M. Borman, 190, 2035 (Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press, 2006).

8. Keith Whitescarver and Jacqueline M. Cossentino, Montessori and the Mainstream: A Century of Reform on the Margins, Teachers College Record 110 (December 2008).

9. Kurt Engelmann, telephone interview with author, June 20, 2006.

10. Success for All Web site, http://www.successforall.net; Nancy Madden, telephone interviews with author, June 9, 2006, and January 15, 2009.

11. On how the isolation of the kindergarten and Montessori may have contributed to their longevity, see Larry Cuban, Why Some Reforms Last: The Case of the Kindergarten, American Journal of Education 100 (February 1992): 16694.

12. Patty Smith Hill, Progressive Report, in International Kindergarten Union, The Kindergarten (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1913); Jacqueline Cossentino, Ritualizing Expertise: A Non-Montessorian View of the Montessori Method, American Journal of Education 111 (February 2005): 21144; Jacqueline M. Cossentino, Big Work: Goodness, Vocation, and Engagement in the Montessori Method, Curriculum Inquiry 36 (March 2006): 86.

13. Hargreaves, Teaching in the Knowledge Society, 176.

14. Daniel K. Aladjem and Kathryn M. Borman, Summary of Findings from the National Longitudinal Evaluation of Comprehensive School Reform, paper given at the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, April 7-11, 2006, 7. Brian Rowan, Richard Correnti, Robert J. Miller, and Eric M. Camburn, School Improvement by Design: Lessons from a Study of Comprehensive School Reform Programs, Consortium for Policy Research in Education, August 2009, http://www.cpre.org/images/stories/cpre_pdfs/sii%20final%20report_web%20file.pdf (accessed December 21, 2009).

15. Judi Randi and Lyn Corno, Teachers as Innovators, in International Handbook of Teachers and Teaching, ed. Bruce J. Biddle, Thomas L. Good, and Ivor F. Goodson, 11631221 (Boston: Kluwer Academic, 1997).

16. Seymour B. Sarason, The Culture of the School and the Problem of Change (Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 1971); Michael W. Apple, Ideology and Curriculum (Boston and London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1979); Henry Giroux, Ideology, Culture, and the Process of Schooling (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1981) and Critical Theory and Rationality in Citizenship Education, Curriculum Inquiry 10, no. 4 (Winter, 1980): 32966. In On the Possibility of Teachers as the Sources of an Emancipatory Pedagogy: A Response to Henry Giroux, Curriculum Inquiry 11, no. 3 (Autumn, 1981): 20510, Linda McNeill points out that critical pedagogy can itself be seen as an externally mandated reform. Richard F. Elmore and Milbrey Wallin McLaughlin, Steady Work: Policy, Practice, and the Reform of American Education (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 1988); Michael Fullan, The Meaning of Educational Change (New York: Teachers College Press, 1982); and Richard Elmore, School Reform From the Inside Out: Policy, Practice, and Performance (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press, 2004). David Cohen, A Revolution in One Classroom: The Case of Mrs. Oublier, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 12 (1990): 31129. For other sources, see especially Michael Fullan and Andy Hargreaves, eds., Teacher Development and Educational Change (New York: Falmer Press, 1992); Andrew Gitlin and Frank Margonis, The Political Aspect of Reform: Teacher Resistance as Good Sense, American Journal of Education 103 (August 1995): 377405; Andy Hargreaves, Changing Teachers, Changing Times (New York: Teachers College Press, 1994); Nancy Jennings, Interpreting Policy in Real Classrooms (New York: Teachers College Press, 1996); Donna E. Muncey and Patrick J. McQuillen, Reform and Resistance in Schools and Classrooms (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1996); Thomas S. Popkewitz, Struggling for the Soul: The Politics of Schooling and the Construction of the Teacher (New York: Teachers College Press, 1998); and Carol Weiss, Shared Decision Making about What? A Comparison of Schools with and without Teacher Participation, Teachers College Record 95 (Fall 1993): 6992.

17. Thomas K. Glennan, Jr., New American Schools After Six Years (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 1998) and Mark Berends, Susan J. Bodilly, and Sheila Nataraj Kirby, Facing the Challenges of Whole-School Reform: New American Schools After a Decade (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2002); and see among many others, Aladjem and Borman, Examining Comprehensive School Reform; Cynthia E. Coburn, Rethinking Scale: Moving Beyond Numbers to Deep and Lasting Change, Educational Researcher 32 (August/September 2003): 312; Comprehensive School Reform Quality Center, CSRQ Report on Elementary School Comprehensive School Reform Models (Washington, DC: American Institutes for Research, 2005); Christopher T. Cross, Putting the Pieces Together: Lessons From Comprehensive School Reform (Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse for Comprehensive School Reform, 2004); Amanda Datnow, Lea Hubbard, and Hugh Mehan, Extending Educational Reform (New York: Routledge Falmer, 2002); Mary Kennedy, Inside Teaching: How Classroom Life Undermines Reform (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005); Brad Olsen and Lisa Kirtman, Teacher as Mediator: An Examination of Teacher Practice in 36 California Restructuring Schools, Teachers College Record 104 (March 2002): 30124; and Georges Vernez, Rita Karam, Lou Mariano, and Christine DeMartini, Assessing the Implementation of Comprehensive School Reform Models (Santa Monica, CA: Rand Education, 2004).

18. On new teachers, see among others, Betty Achinstein and Rodney T. Ogawa, (In)Fidelity: What the Resistance of New Teachers Reveals about Professional Principles and Prescriptive Educational Policies, Harvard Educational Review 76 (Spring 2006): 3063.

19. In Teachers as Innovators, Randi and Corno distinguish four bodies of literature, on teacher implementation of innovation, on the diffusion of innovation as a teacher-change strategy, on curriculum implementation, and on teacher knowledge and learning, 1165. And see among many others, Judi Randi, Teachers as Self-Regulated Learners, Teachers College Record 106 (September 2004): 182553; and Lyn Corno, Teacher Autonomy and Instructional Systems, in Louis J. Rubin, ed., Curriculum Handbook: Administration and Theory (Rockleigh, NJ: Allyn & Bacon, 1977), 23448, Introduction to the Special Issue Work Habits and Work Styles: Volition in Education, Teachers College Record 106 (September 2004): 166994 and On Teaching Adaptively, Educational Psychology, in press.

20. Larry Cuban, How Teachers Taught: Constancy and Change in American Classrooms, 18901990 (New York: Longman, 1984); David Tyack and Larry Cuban, Tinkering Toward Utopia: A Century of Public School Reform (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995).

21. Anthony Grafton and Lisa Jardine, From Humanism to the Humanities: The Liberal Arts and Education in the Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989).

22. Robert Middlekauff, Ancients and Axioms: Secondary Education in Eighteenth-Century New England (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1963).

23. Chicago Board of Education, Graded Course of Instruction for the Public Schools of Chicago with Accompanying Directions to Teachers, 1862, in The American Curriculum, ed., George Willis, William H. Schubert, Robert V. Bullough, Jr., Craig Kridel, and John T. Holton, 64 (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1993). There are many, many sources on Mann, Barnard, and the common school movement, and see, among many others, on how female teachers were controlled, Sari Knopp Biklen, School Work: Gender and the Cultural Construction of Teaching (New York: Teachers College Press, 1995) and Gerald Grant, Teaching in America: The Slow Revolution (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999).

24. Durst, The Union of Intellectual.

25. See, among many others, John Dewey, The Child and the Curriculum, in John Dewey on Education, ed. Reginald D. Archambault, 33958 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1902). On Thorndike and Dewey, see Geraldine Joncich Clifford, Edward L. Thorndike: The Sane Positivist (Middletown, PA: Wesleyan University Press, 1984); Barbara Beatty, From Laws of Learning to a Science of Values: Efficiency and Morality in Edward L. Thorndikes Educational Psychology, American Psychologist 53 (October 1998): 114552; Ellen Condliffe Lagemann, An Elusive Science: The Troubling History of Educational Research (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000) and David F. Labaree, The Trouble with Ed Schools (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2004).

26. On the history of teacher-proof curricula and the standards movement, see, among others, Diane Ravitch, The Troubled Crusade: American Education, 19451980 (New York: Basic, 1969) and National Standards in American Education (Washington, DC: Brookings, 1995).

27. Madhabi Chatterji, Evidence on What Works: An Argument for Extended-Term Mixed-Method (ETMM) Evaluation Designs, Educational Researcher 33 (December 2004): 311. On the history of comprehensive school reform, see Jeffrey Mirel, The Evolution of the New American Schools: From Revolution to Mainstream (New York: Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, 2001); Donald J. Peurach, Designing and Managing Comprehensive School Reform: The Case of Success for All (PhD diss., University of Michigan, 2005); and Rowan, Correnti, Miller, and Camburn, School Improvement by Design. Among many, many others, see Diane Ravitchs recent critique of the effects of No Child Left Behind testing on teacher autonomy, The Death and Life of the Great American School System (New York: Basic Books, 2010).

28. Friedrich Froebel, The Education of Man, trans. W.N. Hailmann (New York: D. Appleton, 1892).On the Froebelian kindergarten, see, among others, Ann Taylor Allen, Feminism and Motherhood in Germany, 18001914 (New Brunswick, NY: Rutgers University Press, 1991); Barbara Beatty, Preschool Education in America: the Culture of Young Children from the Colonial Era to the Present (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1995); V. Celia Lascarides and Blythe F. Hinitz, History of Early Childhood Education (New York: Falmer Press, 2000); and Michael Steven Shapiro, Childs Garden: The Kindergarten Movement from Froebel to Dewey (University Park: Pennsylvania University Press, 1983).

29. Friedrich Froebel, Pedagogics of the Kindergarten, trans. Josephine Jarvis (New York: Appleton, 1895), 205. Maria Kraus-Boelte and John Kraus, Kindergarten Guide (New York: E. Steiger, 1877), 92.

30. See journals such as Peabodys Kindergarten Messenger and primary sources mentioned in Elizabeth Dale Ross, The Kindergarten Crusade: The Establishment of Preschool Education in the United States (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1976); Nina Vandewalker, The Kindergarten in American Education (New York: Macmillan, 1908); and other secondary sources.

31. G. Stanley Hall, The Study of Children, Report of the Commissioner of Education for the Year 18921893 5:36869, G. Stanley Hall Collection, Clark University Archives (Worcester, MA: Clark University, 189293); Anna Bryan and Alice Temple, Topical Syllabi for Educational Study. New Series, School year 18956. XIII. Kindergarten, in Topical Syllabi, 18941899, Clark University Archives; Lucy Wheelock, My Life Story, unpublished autobiography, Lucy Wheelock Collection, Wheelock College Archives, Boston, 13.

32. John Dewey, Froebels Educational Principles, Elementary School Record 1 (June 1900): 147.

33. See Barbara Beatty, The Kind of Knowledge of Most Worth to Young Women: Post-Secondary Vocational Training for Teaching and Motherhood at the Wheelock School, 18881914, History of Higher Education Annual (1986): 2950, and Beatty, Preschool Education in America, 10931.

34. Margaret Tillotson Edsall, Diary, Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Cambridge, MA, MC354, entries for February 20, May 10, and May 31, 1888.

35. Kristen D. Nawrotzki, Greatly Changed for the Better: Free Kindergartens as Transatlantic Reformance, History of Education Quarterly 49 (May 2009): 18295.

36. Marvin Lazerson, Urban Reform and the Schools: Kindergartens in Massachusetts, 18701915, History of Education Quarterly 11 (Summer 1971): 11542; Kristen Nawrotzki, True Narratives and Artistic Fictions: Slum Kindergartens in the United States and United Kingdom, History of Education Quarterly 49 (Spring 2009).

37. Anna Bryan, The Letter Killeth, National Education Association Journal of Proceedings and Addresses (1890): 57375; Barbara Beatty, The Letter Killeth: Americanization and Multiculturalism in Kindergartens in the United States, 18561920, in Kindergartens and Cultures, ed. Roberta Wollons, 4258 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000).

38. International Kindergarten Union, The Kindergarten.

39. Lazerson, Urban Reform and the Schools; Cuban, Why Some Reforms Last; Dom Cavallo, From Perfection to Habit: Moral Training in the American Kindergarten, History of Education Quarterly 16 (1976): 14760. On grouping, Marianne Block, Becoming Scientific and Professional: An Historical Perspective on the Aims and Effects of Early Education, in The Formation of School Subjects, ed. Thomas S. Popkewitz, 2562 (New York: Falmer, 1988).

40. Cuban, Why Some Reforms Last, 187.

41. Mimi Brodsky Chenfeld, Handcuff Me Too! Phi Delta Kappan 87 (June 2006): 74547; William H. Jeynes, Standardized Tests and Froebels Original Kindergarten Model, Teachers College Record 108 (October 2006): 193759.

42. On Montessori see, among others, Gerald Lee Gutek, ed., The Montessori Method: The Origins of an Educational Innovation, Including an Abridged and Annotated Version of Maria Montessoris The Montessori Method (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004); Elizabeth G. Hainstock, The Essential Montessori (New York: Plume, 1986); Rita Kramer, Maria Montessori (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983); Lascarides and Hinitz, History of Early Childhood Education; Angeline Stoll Lillard, Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005); E. M. Standing, Maria Montessori, Her Life and Work (London: Hollis & Carter, 1957); Monica Van Aken, The History of Montessori Education in America, 19092004, (PhD diss., University of Virginia, 2007); Whitescarver and Cossentino, Montessori and the Mainstream; and Paul Willcott, "The Initial Reception of the Montessori Method," The School Review, 76 (June 1968): 147-65.  

43. Maria Montessori, The Montessori Method, trans. Anne E. George (New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1912); Maria Montessori, The Advanced Montessori Method: Spontaneous Activity in Education, trans. Florence Simmons (New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1917).

44. Maria Montessori, The Montessori Method in Gutek, The Montessori Method, 12425.

45. Montessori, The Montessori Method, 20102.

46. William Heard Kilpatrick, The Montessori System Examined (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1914), 4, 52.

47. Patty Smith Hill, Introduction to Charlotte G. Garrison, Permanent Play Materials for Young Children (New York: Charles Scribners Sons, 1926), xiii.

48. Gutek, The Montessori Method, 40.

49. Whitescarver and Cossentino, Montessori and the Mainstream; Gutek, The Montessori Method; Nancy M. Rambusch, Learning How to Learn: An American Approach to Montessori (Baltimore: Helicon Press, 1962).

50. National Association for the Education of Young Children, Montessori in Perspective (Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children, 1966).

51. Angeline Stoll Lillard and Nicole Else-Quest, The Early Years: Evaluating Montessori Education, Science 29 (September, 2006): 189394. Lillard, Montessori.

52. See the research page on the American Montessori Web site: http://www.amshq.org/

53. Polk Lillard, Montessori Today, 178; Polk Lillard, Montessori, 341; Whitescarver and Cossentino, Montessori and the Mainstream.

54. Lillard, Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius, 28488; Paula Polk Lillard, Montessori Today (New York: Schocken Books, 1996), 9597; Cossentino, Culture, Craft, and Coherence.

55. American Montessori Society, Fall 2008 conference program, American Montessori Society Web site, http://www.amshq.org/conference2008fall.htm.

56. Jacqueline Cossentino, e-mail to author, August 10, 2007. Keith Whitescarver and Jacqueline Cossentino, Lessons from the Periphery: The Role of Dispositions on Montessori Teacher Training, The Journal of Educational Controversy 2, no. 2, http://www.wwu.edu/eJournal/ (accessed August 1, 2008).

57. Anna M. Maccheroni, A True Romance: Doctor Maria Montessori as I Knew Her (Edinburgh: The Darien Press, 1947), 29. On the adoration of Montessori followers, see especially Sol Cohen, Maria Montessori: Priestess or Pedagogue? Teachers College Record 71 (December 1969): 31326. On teachers attitudes toward Montessori texts, see Jacqueline Cossentino, Culture, Craft & Coherence: The Unexpected Vitality of Montessori Teacher Training, Journal of Teacher Education 60, no. 2 (2009): 52027.

58. See excerpts from The AMI Bulletin and Communications posted on the Association Montessori Internationale Web site, www.montessori-ami.org/bulletins.htm.

59. See the American Montessori Society Web site, http://www.montessori-ami.org/communications/commun2004_2.htm, and http://www.amshq.org.  

60. Linda Jacobsen, Education Week, March 14, 2007, 3033.

61. Stoll Lillard and Else-Quest, The Early Years.

62. Carl Bereiter and Siegfried Engelmann, Teaching Disadvantaged Children in the Preschool (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1966).

63. Comprehensive School Reform Quality Center, CSRQ Report on Elementary School Comprehensive School Reform Models (Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse for Comprehensive School Reform, 2005); Randall J. Ryder, Jennifer Lynn Burton, and Anna Silberg, Longitudinal Study of Direct Instruction Effects from First Through Third Grades, Journal of Education Research 99 (2006): 17991; Vernez et al., Assessing the Implementation of Comprehensive School Reform Models.

64. Siegfried Engelmann and Elaine C. Bruner, Reading Mastery, Classic Edition, Presentation Book A, Level I (Columbus, GA: SRA/McGraw-Hill, 2003).

65. Elkind quoted in Ellen Ruppell Shell, Now, Which Kind of Preschool, Psychology Today 23 (December 1989): 5254.

66.  About Direct Instruction (DI), National Institute for Direct Instruction Web site, http://nifdi.org.

67. Siegfried Engelmann quoted in Daniel Radosh, The Pet Goat Approach, The New Yorker, Talk of the Town Section, July 26, 2004, 34.

68. Siegfried Engelmann, War Against the Schools Academic Child Abuse (Portland, OR: Halcyon House, 1992); Siegfried Engelmann, Teaching Needy Kids in our Backward System: 42 Years of Trying (Eugene, OR: ADI Press, 2007) and see Douglas Carnine, Why Education Experts Resist Effective Practices (Washington, DC: Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, 2000).

69. Mark C. Schug, Sara G. Tarver, and Richard D. Western, Direct Instruction and the Teaching of Early Reading: Wisconsins Teacher-Led Insurgency, Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, Inc., Thiensville, WI, March 2001, http://www.wpri.org; Michael P. Ford, A Teacher-Led Insurgency for Voice and Choice in Reading Programs: A Direct Response from the Wisconsin State Reading Association to the Wisconsin Policy Research Institutes Direct Instruction and the Teaching of Reading, Wisconsin State Reading Association Web site, Summer 2001, http://www.wsra.org/committees/adv/ford_DirInst.php (accessed June 20, 2006).

70. See Kathleen Kennedy Manzo, Scathing Report Casts Cloud over Reading First, Education Week 26 (October 24, 2006): 1, 2425.

71. Comprehensive School Reform Quality Center, CSRQ Report on Elementary School Comprehensive School Reform Models.

72. Vernez and Goldhaber, Implementing Comprehensive School Reform Models, 187, 191; CSRQ, CSRQ Report, 129. Bryan Wickman, telephone interview with author, June 20, 2006.

73. See videos on Reading Mastery I, II, and III on the National Institute for Direct Instruction Web site, http://www.nifdi.org/15/
index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=92&Itemid=149 (accessed December 30, 2009).   

74. Why Use Scripts movie clip, Association for Direct Instruction Web site, http://www.adihome.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=115&Itemid=119 (accessed December 30, 2009).

75. Kelly Collin quoted in Borsuk, Learning the Drill, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

76. Georges Vernez and Dan Goldhaber, Implementing Comprehensive School Reform Models, in Examining Comprehensive School Reform, 190, 20305.   

77. For a full history of Success for All, see Peurach, Designing and Managing Comprehensive School Reform. See also Robert E. Slavin, Nancy A. Madden, Lawrence J. Dolan, and Barbara A. Wasik, Every Child, Every School (Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 1996) and Success for All: Research and Reform in Elementary Education (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2001); and Jay Matthews, Success for Some, Washington Post, July 21, 2002, W30, http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac/wp-dyn/A15183-2002.html (accessed July 16, 2007).

78. Slavin and Madden, Success for All, vii.

79. Peurach,Designing and Managing Comprehensive School Reform; Madden, telephone interviews, 2006, 2009.

80. Manzo, Scathing Report Casts Clouds over Reading First; Robert E. Slavin, Evidence-Based Reform and No Child Left Behind: Next Time Use What Works, Teachers College Record, December 12, 2006, http://www.tcrecord.org (accessed July 24, 2007).

81. Comprehensive School Reform Quality Center, CSRQ Report on Elementary School Comprehensive School Reform Models, 5; Slavin and Madden, Success for All; Vernez, Karam, Mariano, and DeMartini, Assessing the Implementation of Comprehensive School Reform Models.

82. Slavin et al., Every Child, Every School, 80.

83. Abby Goodnough, Miss Moffetts First Year (New York: Public Affairs, 2004), 61.

84. Peurach, Designing and Managing Comprehensive School Reform, 13599. Madden says that many principals and teachers used to autonomously contact Success for All directly, but that school districts now make more of the decisions, which has changed the dynamic; districts initiate the adoption process about half of the time. Madden, interview, January 15, 2009.

85. Peurach, Designing and Managing Comprehensive School Reform.

86. Madden interview, January 15, 2009.

87. See, among others, Stanley Pogrow, Success for All Does Not Produce Success for Students, Phi Delta Kappan (September 2001): 6780; Herbert J. Walberg and Rebecca Greenberg, The Diogenes Factor, Phi Delta Kappan (October 1999): 12728; and Matthews, Success for Some.

88. See, among others, Aladjem and Borman, Summary of Findings from the National Longitudinal Evaluation of Comprehensive School Reform; Comprehensive School Reform Quality Center, CSRQ Report on Elementary School Comprehensive School Reform Models; Geoffrey D. Borman, Robert E. Slavin, Alan C. K. Cheung, Anne M. Chamberlain, Nancy A. Madden, Bette Chambers, Final Reading Outcomes of the National Randomized Field Trial of Success for All, American Educational Research Journal 44 (September 2007): 70131; and Rowan, Correnti, Miller, and Camburn.

89. Peurach, Designing and Managing Comprehensive School Reform, 13599; Slavin, Madden, Dolan, and Wasik, Every Child, Every School; Success for All Foundation Web Site, http://www.successforall.net.

90. Amanda Datnow and Marisa Castellano, Teachers Responses to Success for All: How Beliefs, Experiences, and Adaptations Shape Implementation, American Educational Research Journal 37 (Fall 2000): 787, 794.

91. See http://www.successforall.net and Real Stories, Real Schools, http://www.successforall.net/research/real.htm (accessed December 30, 2009).

92. Georgia Hedrick, A Veteran Teacher Looks at Success for All SFA, TEACHERS.NET.GAZETTE, 1 (November 2000), http://teachers.net/gazette/
NOV00/hedrick.html (accessed June 6, 2007); Pogrow, Success for All Does Not Produce Success for Students, 7576; Matthews, Success for Some.

93. Goodnough, Miss Moffetts First Year, 60.

94. Goodnough, 6061.

95. Goodnough, 72. Reading scores at P.S. 92 went up by several percentage points after the first year of Success for All, although it is not clear how much of this was due to the program, Goodnough, 62.

96. Datnow and Castellano, Teachers Responses to Success for All, 783.

97. Rowan et al., School Improvement by Design, 36.

98. Vernez and Goldhaber, Implementing Comprehensive School Reform Models, 206. In the neatoday article, some teachers commented on how supportive Success for All coaches were, and that the coach was there to monitor how the program works, not to critique teachers, Barbara Garner quoted in Holcomb, Reading by the Script, 23.

99. Datnow and Castellano, Teachers Responses, 783, 788, 79092.

100. Datnow, Hubbard, and Mehan, Extending Educational Reform.

101. For data on Direct Instruction and Success for All student populations, see their Web sites. Both are still predominantly in schools with high poverty levels.

102. In Culture, Craft, and Coherence, Cossentino suggests this about Montessori training.

103. Jacqueline Cossentino, e-mail correspondence with author, February 22, 2009.

104. On the relative uniformity of traditional teacher education, see, among others, David Labaree, The Trouble with Ed Schools (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2004).

105. An American Institutes for Research study found that only about a third of the comprehensive school reform schools in their sample stayed relatively true to their designers models for more than three years, see James E. Taylor, The Struggle to Survive: Examining the Sustainability of Schools Comprehensive School Reform Efforts, Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk 11 (2006): 33152; Datnow and Castellano and Vernez and Goldhaber report even fewer teachers sticking to the script.

106. Durst, The Union of Intellectual Freedom and Cooperation, 960, 962.

107. Marjorie Schaeffer, personal communication with author, November 10, 2009.

108. Ariel Hathaway, personal communication with author, October 21, 2008.


Bibliography of Selected References on Scripted Instruction, Comprehensive School Reform, Teacher Fidelity, Resistance, and Autonomy

Achinstein, B., and Ogawa, R. T. (In)Fidelity: What the Resistance of New Teachers Reveals about Professional Principles and Prescriptive Educational Policies. Harvard Educational Review 76, no. 1 (2006): 3063.

Aladjem, D. K., and Borman, K. M., eds. Examining Comprehensive School Reform. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute Press, 2005.  

Coburn, C. E. Rethinking Scale: Moving Beyond Numbers to Deep and Lasting Change. Educational Researcher 32, no. 6 (2003): 312.

Cohen, D. A Revolution in One Classroom: The Case of Mrs. Oublier. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 12, no. 3 (1990): 31129.

Cuban, L. How Teachers Taught: Constancy and Change in American Classrooms, 18901990. New York: Longman, 1984.  

Datnow, A., L. Hubbard, and H. Mehan. Extending Educational Reform. New York: Routledge Farmer, 2002.

Delpit, L. Educators as Seed People Growing a New Future. Educational Researcher 32, no. 7 (2003): 1421.  

Durst, A. The Union of Intellectual Freedom and Cooperation: Learning from the University of Chicagos Laboratory School. Teachers College Record 107, no. 5 (2005): 95884.

Hargreaves, A. Teaching in the Knowledge Society. New York: Teachers College Press, 2003.

Randi, J., and L. Corno. Teachers as Innovators. In International Handbook of Teachers and Teaching, edited by Bruce J. Biddle, Thomas L. Good, and Ivor F. Goodson, 1164221. Boston: Kluwer, 1997.

Rowan, B., R. Correnti, R. J. Miller, and E. M. Camburn. School Improvement by Design: Lessons from a Study of Comprehensive School Reforms. Consortium for Policy Research in Education, 2009.

Shulman, L. S. Autonomy and Obligation: The Remote Control of Teaching. In Lee Shulman, The Wisdom of Practice, edited by Lee Shulman, 13364. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2004.

Tyack, D., and L. Cuban. Tinkering Toward Utopia: A Century of Public School Reform. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992.


Froebelian Kindergarten

Beatty, B. Preschool Education in America: the Culture of Young Children from the Colonial Era to the Present. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995.

Beatty, B. The Letter Killeth: Americanization and Multiculturalism in Kindergartens in the United States, 18561920. In Kindergartens and Cultures, edited by Roberta Wollons, 4258. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000.

Cuban, L. Why Some Reforms Last: The Case of the Kindergarten. American Journal of Education 100, no. 2 (1992): 16694.

Jeynes, W. H. Standardized Tests and Froebels Original Kindergarten Model. Teachers College Record 108, no. 10 (2006): 193759.

Lascarides, V. C., and B. F. Hinitz. History of Early Childhood Education. New York: Falmer Press, 2000.

Shapiro, M. S. Childs Garden: The Kindergarten Movement from Froebel to Dewey. University Park: Pennsylvania University Press, 1983.

Montessori Method

Cossentino, J. Ritualizing Expertise: A Non-Montessorian View of the Montessori Method. American Journal of Education 111, no. 2 (2005): 21144.

Gutek, G. L. The Montessori Method: The Origins of an Educational Innovation, Including an Abridged and Annotated Version of Maria Montessoris The Montessori Method. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004.  

Kramer, R. Maria Montessori. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983.

Lillard, A. S. Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius. New York: Oxford. University Press, 2005.

Whitescarver, K., and J. M. Cossentino. Montessori and the Mainstream: A Century of Reform on the Margins. Teachers College Record 110, no. 12 (2008).

Direct Instruction  

Bereiter, C., and S. Engelmann, S. Teaching Disadvantaged Children in the Preschool. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1966.

Comprehensive School Reform Quality Center. CSRQ Report on Elementary School Comprehensive School Reform Models. Washington, DC: American Institutes for Research, 2005.

Engelmann, S. War Against the Schools Academic Child Abuse. Portland, OR: Halcyon House, 1982.

Engelmann, S. Teaching Needy Kids in Our Backward System. Eugene, OR: ADI Press, 2007.

Ryder, R. J., J. L. Burton, and A. Silberg. Longitudinal Study of Direct Instruction Effects from First Through Third Grades. The Journal of Education Research 99, no. 3 (2006): 17991.

Success for All  

Borman, G. D., R. E. Slavin, A. C. K. Cheung, A. M. Chamberlain, N. Madden, and B. Chambers. Final Reading Outcomes of the National Randomized Field Trial of Success for All. American Educational Research Journal 44, no. 3 (2007): 70131.

Datnow, A., and M. Castellano. Teachers Responses to Success for All: How Beliefs, Experiences, and Adaptations Shape Implementation. American Educational Research Journal 37, no. 3 (2000): 78893.

Peurach, D. J. Designing and Managing Comprehensive School Reform: The Case of Success for All. PhD diss., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2005.

Slavin, R. E. Evidence-Based Reform and No Child Left Behind: Next Time Use What Works. Teachers College Record 108, no. 12 (2006).

Slavin, R. E., and N. A. Madden. Success for All: Research and Reform in Elementary Education. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2001.

Slavin, R. E., N. A. Madden, L. J. Dolan, and B. A. Wasik. Every Child, Every School. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 1996.

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 113 Number 3, 2011, p. 395-430
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 16048, Date Accessed: 1/19/2022 6:30:30 AM

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About the Author
  • Barbara Beatty
    Wellesley College
    E-mail Author
    BARBARA BEATTY is professor of education at Wellesley College. Her research focuses on the history of preschool education, teacher education, and the relationship between psychology and education. She is co-editor of When Science Encounters the Child: Education, Parenting, and Child Welfare in 20th-Century America (2006) and author of Preschool Education in America: the Culture of Young Children from the Colonial Era to the Present (1995), and other publications.
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