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Fixes, not excuses or policies will get the job done

Posted By: Dick Schutz on February 17, 2004
Take a look at the ECLS-K data bases for some clues. I won't go into the whole long story, but a bare bones examplar should make the point. Sure, ethnic minority and poor kids enter K "behind." But by the end of the year nearly 100% of all K kids know alphabet letter names. On the one hand, this is good news. On the other hand, it's a wake up call that K currently devotes an unnecessarily large allotment of instructional time to this task, particularly since it's the sounds, not the names of letters, that is instrumental in teaching the Alphabetic Code--which K is teaching poorly at best and faultily at worst.

Further, for reasons of pedagogical dogma, preschool instruction--which you really don't see very much of when you look at "boots on the ground"--aims at teaching "Phonemic Awareness" using spoken language in the absence of text--a totally unnecessary and potentially maladaptive practice.

ECLS-K is chuck full of other clues, but "linear analysis is not going to uncover them. Sleuthing the clues is a lot simpler than that. In this day of "evidenced-based instruction," doesn't it seem desirable to look at the sound data right in the government's back-yard, that is all-but-completely being ignored?
Dick Schutz
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 No Excuses: What policies should be implemented? by Marc Cittone on February 17, 2004
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