Phonics vs. Endless Days

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When I read headlines like “School District Returns to Traditional, Methodical, Instruction,” I will have some hope for American schools, but for now too many in the educational community treat schooling failures as merely bubbles that can be popped, blown away or ignored; too many educators choose solutions that are more dream than substance. For far too many decades now, costly fads have been the preferred curricular choices and while low-scoring (See here) administrators and teachers retain control of the schools, rarely-to-never will there be any decision to restructure failing policies and retrain teachers to provide appropriate and skilled instruction to all students.

An interesting article was up at Drudge, but before I could type “Phonics,” the article was taken down. How odd. The piece may be evidence of yet another dreamy tactic for dealing with real problems within the educational mega-structure.

New York City To Try Longer School Day In 20 Middle Schools. ”NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The school day is about to get longer for some New York City school kids – and we’re not talking a couple of minutes. It’s about to be two and a half hours longer. If scores go up, the plan could be extended city-wide, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported Monday.”

The article quotes City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who apparently has some sentence structure problems, ”It’s where the achievement gap really seems to grow, in New York City about three-fourths of seventh and eighth graders. Three-fourths of seventh and eighth graders do not read at a proficient level.” Hopefully, the reporter just misquoted her.

My instant reaction was to think of (Is it not still running in the background?) Hilary Clinton and Marc Tucker’s plan to get kids…heck, to get entire communities!…into the confines of their local schools for that “Cradle to Grave” ‘education’ + supervision by STATE-indoctrinated agents and authorities. (Reading suggestion: None Dare Call It Education by Dr. John Stormer)

I agree that school days in America are too short, cheating children of educational time and complicating life for working parents, but what besides resentment can be gained by increasing school days by 2½ hours in one fell swoop? I am especially concerned because I have no reason to trust that the additional 2½ hours will be spent in carefully reconstructing proper and solid foundations for learning so that the students actually will be able to become successful in all subject areas.

The most important foundation for learning in America is the ability to precisely understand, speak, use, and read English. Most often, poor students neither speak nor read English accurately and fluently. Unless students are taught phonics and how to usephonetic skills to break the phonetic code in which the phonetic language of English is recorded phonetically…individuals of all ages generally face insurmountable educational hurdles in all academic areas. But for some inexplicable reason, this level and type of logic will confuse and anesthetize most of those who passed through teacher training programs. The rational graduates have either left the schools, physically and/or spiritually, having quit or retired; or remain in the schools but spend their days ultimately frustrated and bitterly unhappy.

I would very much like to explain to school board members across America that accurate, complete, methodical phonics instruction not only teaches students of all ages to read, but is the only way to teach anyone to read a phonetic language like English. Throughout my long teaching career, I repeatedly advised school administrators and school boards to drop the Failing-Fad-Following and return to phonics instruction but only one school, Northern Michigan Christian in McBain, was willing to listen to the Truth and decide to change their entire approach to reading instruction based on that unbreakable Law of Phonetic Languages. The results have been remarkable. My tide-turning question to that school board may have been, “Why would any parent pay $X,X00 a year for their child not to learn to read at NMC…when that same child can…not learn to read over at ‘public’ for free?”

Not only do individuals learn to read a phonetic language once they are taught the phonetics of that particular language, they quickly develop the skills to do so. Remember “Dick & Jane” and the devastation that the sight word, word-calling method brought to America? It is with frustration and despair that I report the following: “Dick & Jane” have not left the premises. “Dick & Jane” have simply been renamed “Dibbles, Memorize & Hurry.” The misbegotten method is still firmly entrenched in the collective psyche of the American mis-educational cartel. (Aside:See the difference between the reading levels of WW-II recruits [pre-sight words] and Korean War recruits [post sight words] here.)

No, Reyna Franco, there is not ”…a great need for additional education and resources,” unless those additions would consist of correct methods with tried and true curriculum.

Believe me, ‘longer days’ spent without the receipt of the right kind of corrective reading instruction will quickly become frustrating and counterproductive ‘endless days’.

Other reading:

Education’s Dunces and Whipping Boys

What Do They Think Will Happen?

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