If you've ever watched an episode of House on Fox, you would find a cras doctor treating patients like a puzzle that simply must be solved, no matter what. Naturally, this doctor and his crack team of fellows have a very low case load, easy access to top of the line diagnostic machinery, and a pretty supportive administrator.But what if, just what if, our school system did the same. Kids can't read? Send them to House, he'll diagnose and prescribe a cure. Shoot, he'll ensure the treatment is carried out - ethically and correctly.
This Baltimore Sun article is chock full of fun. Let my try to use my horrible writing skills to summarize:
1. Author of "direct instruction" reading curriculum, Robert Slavin, cries foul when a federal level grant agency leader, Chris Doherty, has ties to a competing curriculum mamouth provider, SRA McGraw-Hill. Both Slavin and Doherty are located in Baltimore.
The big bru-ha-ha over Reading First's favoritism toward SRA Direct Instruction has a few hallow points. The issue at hand is: does it work and does it fit the tenants set out by the Reading First requirements?
An article about the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) changing direction from "fuzzy math" to more traditional instruction. Please remember, Oregon's standards are based on recommendations by NCTM. Fuzzy math (AKA constructivist math, discovery math, manipulatives, new new math) is an anti memorization or drilling method of teaching math. They also like to introduce calculators early, very early. Because math facts weren't required, the calculator made a great crutch.
Another success story for DI. Here is a Charter using it very effectively in Boston (not sure I got it right but that is where the newspaper is located). The school Director and Chairman insist the school is as diverse as surrounding public schools so the spectacular increases in scores are due to quality teaching and curriculum, not because of diversity issues.
Here's a quote on bi-lingual education that ought to anger a bunch of people in Oregon:
An interesting article that points out that most states don't require new teachers to be trained, nor tested for licensure, in effective reading instruction. I suspect this will include Oregon's ORELA test for elementary school teachers. I'll find out when I take the test hopefully next year.
Even more alarming is the fact that teachers receive professional continuing ed in more of the same:
Hmmm. After looking at the public school boundary lines I happen to notice something: they seemed to have a distinct socio-economic mapping related them. I have to admit, it is probably coincidence, but if you examine the lines, you'll definitely see a pattern.
An interesting story about 3 corroborating schools in Nebraska that extended Direct Instruction reading past 3rd grade. At first, teachers had reservations but the test scores are pretty incredible. It sounds like some scores jumped an average of 57 to 85, above the state level.
Hmmm, so tenative Annual Yearly Progress federal school report card scores are out for Oregon. In Corvallis, the elementary and title I schools are doing well but middle and high schools not so. I probably don't understand all the hubub behind "those mean 'ol NCLB Federal govment people" but it seems to me it should be EASY to make minimal progress according to this chart from the Oregon School Board Association :