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NCLB Outrages

Rod Paige Gets Setup Questions for his Setup Answers
Ohanian Comment: When is a conversation an exchange of ideas and when is it a setup for getting the party message out there? U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige joined Education Week on the Web on Sept. 24, 2003, for a live online chat to discuss implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act and its effect on schools, as well as the Bush administrationís philosophy for improving education.

Read the transcript and you will see that the whole thing was salted with set-up questioners. Here's one example.

Question from Martha C. Brown, former public high school teacher, now idependent education writer:
Dr. Paige - NCLB is stressing the need for primary grade teachers to switch from whole language reading instruction to research proven systematic phonics. How will the Education Department deal with educators who try to avoid phonics instruction and insist on continuing the reading wars, which for decades have been responsible for increasing illiteracy and demoralizing children and teenagers?

Secretary Rod Paige:
What we're doing is simply supporting what works in reading instruction. Research over the last three to four decades has shown that we know what works in teaching our kids how to read. Now, we just have to do it, and do it on a national scale. This does not mean, of course, that there is one way to teach reading; it does mean, however, that effective reading instruction must be comprised of the 5 essential components of reading - phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Research is clear that instruction that systematically and explicitly teaches these components produces proficient readers, and putting this instruction into our nation's classrooms will help to ensure that all children read at grade level or above by the end of third grade. We know that all teachers want to help make their students good readers. No caring adult enters the noble profession of teaching with the goal of teaching half her kids to read well, yet the data show that across the country we consistently leave too many children behind when it comes to effective, high-quality reading instruction. Reading First - with its billion dollars per year of federal reading support - and its adherence to the research-based, state-by-state plans is addressing this problem head-on. Once a child is a fluent, confident reader, the classroom and the whole words opens up for him. That's what No Child Left Behind is all about.

Martha C. Brown, "independent education writer," doesn't have many writing credits available oneline. There's one essay at the Heartland Institute. As a point of information, here's what Heartland proclaims in a banner on its education site:

Government schools are islands of socialism in a sea of competition and choice. Visit Heartland's School Reform Issue Suite to learn how choice and privatization would improve K-12 schools.

Funny thing: Independent writer Brown was also one of the questioners on Education Week's Talkback of April 29, 2003.

Talkback Live with Rod Paige
Education Week


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