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NCLB Outrages

Now We Know New York City Politicos' Price

Ohanian Comment: For once I agree with a smideon of what The New York Post editorialists rant about. New York City officials showed that their price for prostituting values was way too low. For $34 million, they offered themselves--and New York City schoolchildren--up to the feds. Other than that point, the Post's editorial is a piece of trash.

January 10, 2004 -- Well, everyone has a price.
But who knew that New York City's was so low?

The city Department of Education's faddish new reading curriculum is being tossed out of 49 schools in favor of a more traditional syllabus.


Has the noble experiment failed?

Not officially.

But it's debatable whether the curriculum previously backed by Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein would have worked.

Its principal proponent in the city is Deputy Schools Chancellor Diana Lam, a firm believer in "progressive" education.

Lam has vigorously defended the program for months - despite a near-total lack of evidence that it works.

So why was it abandoned now?

Cold, hard cash.

The feds told Klein that New York would be eligible for an extra $34 million in federal funds - but only if it agreed to Washington's more traditional approach in 49 of the city's worst schools.

Now, relative to the department's $13 billion budget, $34 million isn't much.

And other urban areas have rejected the federal handout precisely because it came with strings attached.

It would have been best if Bloomberg and Klein had never signed on to the Lam scam in the first place.

Washington's way - the "phonics" method - is in essence the only way reading has ever been taught effectively on a large scale, in any country that uses a phonetic alphabet.

Lam's approach - the "whole language" technique - has a passionate following among educrats, but no record of classroom success anywhere. (Which may be why her curriculum was named "Month-by-Month Phonics.")

The facts are entirely with the feds. And it's their money.

But if Bloomberg and Klein feel Lam's way is the best way, they ought to stick by her - and send the federal check back.

Their failure to do so represents an unmistakable vote of no-confidence in the deputy chancellor.

Lam, having been sold out, needs to quit. Her usefulness, never great, is over.

Phonics $34 Million Diana Lam 0
New York Post


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