Monday, March 15, 2004


Individual responsibility and frequent testing:: How incorrect! Even that hopelessly old-fasioned PHONICS!

"Although many children are already performing well below grade when they arrive at kindergarten, the district has achieved dramatic improvement in elementary school test scores. Romer thinks this is because an elementary school ``is a small learning community.'' More elementary school teachers than high school teachers want to be what they are, because elementary school teachers have the satisfaction of what Romer calls ``ownership'' of the child. Secondary school teachers are more oriented to the subject matter, and if a child fails math or science, well, the child did not have the suitable background, which is someone else's fault.

The school district's dramatic improvement in elementary school scores is the result of a rigorous curriculum featuring instruction in phonics. Plus what Romer calls ``really trained teachers -- trained after they leave school,'' trained especially in how to teach reading. Plus teaching coaches in classrooms. Plus -- Romer calls this ``the real culture-changer'' -- diagnostic measurement every 10 weeks that returns results in 24 hours, revealing what homework is needed, and shaping classroom instruction for each child during the subsequent 10 weeks.

To those who criticize ``teaching to the test,'' Romer responds: That is what flight schools do. Because we take flying seriously.'

More here.

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