“notably the leeway to employ ineffective practices”

Douglas Carnine:

To fill this void, our 84 volunteer experts are creating guidance for decisionmakers in the form of evidence-based resources. These are being vetted, curated and organized based on scientific research and on data from high-performing schools, districts and states that consistently produce strong results, especially for marginalized populations. These resources, focused on academic achievement and social-emotional well-being, could become the basis for specific education policies, programs, and practices. They will be accessible on our website, distributed through collaborating partner organizations and promulgated through convenings with education agencies.

Just as the maritime safety standards improved safety and saved lives, the EAC is committed to constraining the use of non-evidence-based programs that cause waste and even harm. For example, Reading Recovery, an  intervention targeted to lowest-achieving first graders, has been used with 2.4 million students at an estimated cost of $10,271 per child, which has resulted in total expenditures of $2.5 billion. But, as noted in the Hechinger Report, “Reading Recovery students subsequently fell behind and by fourth grade were far worse readers than similar students who hadn’t had the tutoring, according to a [December 2022] follow-up study. The tutoring seemed to harm them.”

 Even the much-touted reading initiative that moved Mississippi from the lowest-performing state on fourth-grade NAEP reading scores to 21st in the nation, may have serious flaws. EAC co-founder Kelly Butler, CEO of Mississippi’s Barksdale Reading Institute, worries that not all components of the state’s education system are being held to the same level of accountability, which can undermine sustainability.