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Teaching

Former Education Reformer Schools Herself

Look, I know Diane Ravitch is no fan of school choice (anymore)—the educational cause that is my hill to die on. I suspect she disagrees with virtually every tweet I’ve put out, except maybe this one about excessive screen time in schools? 

But I was honestly concerned last week when she decided to respond to me about a report on elementary reading instruction:

First off, she rarely engages with me, so apparently she found this important enough to respond to. But, more worrisome, is she signaling that, when it comes to reading, she is not on the side of science?

While Ravitch may not be a fan of the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) or “right wingers” as she laughably refers to them and their supporters, they are hardly the only ones raising well substantiated red flags about how teachers are being trained to teach reading in America’s teacher preparation programs. 

Emily Hanford of APM Reports is hardly motivated by politics when she asserts that “for decades, schools have taught children the strategies of struggling readers, using a theory about reading that cognitive scientists have repeatedly debunked.” She goes on to say that “as long as this disproven theory remains part of American education, many kids will likely struggle to learn how to read.” 

Even Diane’s BFFs at the American Federation of Teachers are calling for research aligned reading instruction based in science. Despite Ravitch’s metamorphic disdain for testing, she can’t possibly deny the fact that most students in America do not read on grade level and that there is a direct link between illiteracy and incarceration. And the latest “nation’s report card” shows those reading scores aren’t improving

Her outright dismissal of NCTQ’s report that evaluates reading instruction in teacher prep programs is a bit chilling—Ravitch wields great influence in the education space. The last thing students and parents need is for her to use her megaphone against scientifically supported methods of teaching reading.

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