Letter to teacher (also my student)

Dear Mary,

You mentioned a highly successful program in your school (brain-based ways to teach letter patterns and phonics). I believe you say it was successful because student reading scores went up. Is that right?

How many more multiple choice questions did students get right because of this approach? You say no research has been done to find the answer. I find it convenient that we commit funds to conduct studies (often university faculty receive federal grants), but we never have enough time or money to see exactly how “effective” those “best practices” were in the real classrooms where they were used.

Could it be that we would be disappointed? Could it be that investing in any coordinated effort to improve learning of one type or another would improve learning in that area? Could it be that the test scores went up, but they did not translate into more educated children? Could it be that they did translate into better educated children to the extent that teachers modeled the six virtues and students learned them?

A lot of people make a lot of money selling educational strategies, training, and materials because supposedly “effective” programs can be peddled for a profit and charter schools can be peddled for a high salary. Here is the link to a blog discussing how public money is going to the privatization of pubic education. (I love irony.)


Teachers should read it, close their classroom door, then model and teach the six virtues, which costs nothing. What can supervisors say? — “You can’t teach the six virtues of the educated person!” (BTW — your test scores will go up.)



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