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[Susan notes: Thanks to Stephen Krashen for revealing the details politicos and the press leave out.]

Submitted to Oakland Tribune but not published
01/06/2006

To the editor

Reports of a recent national comparison of states

published by Education Week focused on California’s

overall above-average evaluation for its educational

system (“Study: State schools measure up on everything

but funding, “ Jan 5).



Missing from newspaper articles (and missing from a

press release from the state superintendent of

education) is an embarrassing statistic contained in

the report: On national tests of reading given in

2005, California’s fourth and eighth graders were in

next to last place among all states, and there has

been no improvement since 1992, the first time test

results were analyzed by state.



Since 1992, California installed an extremist version

of phonics (intensive, systematic phonics). Studies

consistently show that heavy phonics instruction has

no significant impact on tests of reading

comprehension given after grade 1.



Since 1992, California has drastically cut spending on

school libraries, already very low in 1992. Studies

show that school library quality and staffing are

significant predictors of achievement on reading

tests. California’s school (and public) libraries are

among the worst in the nation, which means that many

children have little access to reading material.



California’s “reading problem” includes policy makers

who don’t read the research.

Stephen Krashen


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