Part 3: Cacophony (a mishmash) of Reading Issues

Armand A. Fusco, Ed.D.:

Part 2 stressed 11 lessons to be learned for the new Madison Literacy Task Force, but the same would be true for any reading task force or advisory group especially when Part 1 is included.

It’s should be clear from the first two parts that a great deal of research and information has been done relating to reading, so a logical question to ask is whether this trove of data has improved reading after decades of efforts? It was answered rather shockingly and disappointing during a meeting of the Council of Chief State School Officers, “At National Literacy Summit, State Education Chiefs Warn of Reading Stagnation, ”(Kevin Mahnken), T74, 01/27/2020:

An edit of the results follow and reveals, in summary, that credible reading research is apparently ignored by too many educators and that’s the main reason why reading results are disastrous; yet, schools supposedly are about learning and growing. The Summit information indicates it is not happening with the most critical skill required for academic success impacting minorities the most—literacy. Actually, it’s very hard to believe that this is still a crisis issue in this, the 21st century.

“Reading instruction in American schools is so rife with poor curriculum and pedagogical dogma that a prominent academic likened it to ‘the equivalent of chemistry departments teaching alchemy.’ We’ve had about 130 years of bad practice…

Note: Imagine of medical field had 130 years of bad practice for patients, or the corporate world doing the same? Heads would role! There would be and have been consequences, but not in education.

The roundtable discussion addressed the causes — from poorly prepared teachers to inadequate guidance on curriculum — of the well-documented stagnation in reading achievement across the United States.

Note; How can this happen when teacher preparation institutions must be accredited from an independent group, but not necessarily an unbiased group, involved in a rather rigorous process? There is only one answer and that is that the standards being used are inadequate and/or poorly followed; further, the independent group is also biased since they come from the same education society.

Related: The Reading Rat Race Series Part 2: The Reading Champion: 11 Lessons for Madison’s Literacy Task Force

Inside Education Column: Madison’s Literacy Task Force: Reading Renaissance or Recycling?