Skip to comments.There Are Two Americas...And One Of Them Can't Read .
Posted on 03/06/2011 3:27:10 PM PST by IbJensen
Okay, folks, place your bets. Was it clueless incompetence on a cosmic scale? Or, was it John Deweys collectivist wet dream turned Clockwork Orange?
One of these ways or the other, we became a country with 50,000,000 functional illiterates, people who can't read a cereal box, never mind instructions on a pill bottle when that exact skill might save a life. Prisons are full of people who can't read. The country's schools wallow in mediocrity. All thanks to educational malfeasance, decade after decade.
J'accuse! J'accuse! The so-called experts in charge of reading are derelict and destructive. Please, remove these parasites from our weary carcass.
Reading was always something that kids learned, almost automatically, in the first few years of schools. Kids learn the alphabet, then A is for Apple, then the sounds of the letters, and soon everyone is reading.
John Dewey, however, opined that a concern with literature constituted a perversion. Takes one to know one, John. This character actually lamented that children might sit alone enjoying a good book. He and his cronies seem to have set out to make sure it cant happen. I never know what to call these people. Quacks is accurate; but I prefer shameless hussies.
Now, let's focus on what children should be doing and on what timetable. We need at this point a few expert testimonies to establish a baseline.
One of our best-known educators is Marva Collins. She has this assertion on her website: "Children as young as 4 years of age are admitted to my school, at the beginning of every school year in September. I guarantee that they will ALL be reading by Christmas, three months later. That has been the results since I started my school in 1975." Note that the lady says: "ALL," even as some public schools casually accept that one-quarter of their students might need to be classified as dyslexic.
Sibyl Terman and Charles Walcutt said in Reading: Chaos and Cure that: "It is absurdly easy to teach a child to read with [phonics]. Most of the children in America could be taught to read in a few weeks or months at the age of five."
Mona McNee and Alice Coleman, two of Englands leading educators, both with 40+ years in the school trenches, state in their book The Great Reading Disaster that: "All children, apart from the blind, profoundly deaf and brain damaged, can learn to read by the end of infant school [age seven]. Reading schemes should not go on forever and after two years children should be capable of choosing their own books."
These quotes should bring tears to our eyes. They tell us what is normal, and how quickly the process moves along in sensible schools using the proper methods.
Instead we have a totally lunatic situation where millions of children fall behind in elementary grades and never recover. They hate books, and their education remains in free fall. This is the predictable results wherever phonics is discarded and Whole Word (or Sight-Words) is imposed on children.
Heres another way to judge appropriate progress. You have probably learned a foreign language, or you know someone who did. This task might take a few years, at which point you're reading, writing and speaking a wholly different language from your own. Note that a whole new vocabulary must be learned. But give it two or three years, and you can manage.
The situation for American children in our public schools should be much easier. They are native speakers who show up on Day One knowing nearly 10,000 words and names. All these words and their pronunciations are ALREADY in the brains of the children. All they need is the tool kit that lets them recognize the words in print. This isn't a difficult thing to do, and experts tell us they can do it rather quickly.
How very dysfunctional our public schools have become. American children learning to read French make faster progress than American children learning to read English!
So let's think about this: our Education Establishment doesn't accomplish much of anything and they take many tedious years to do it. Hmm, you'd almost have to conclude that they're faking it, that they have no interest in teaching people to read. Why else would anyone use a loser pedagogy like Whole Word?
Just for a moment, consider the silly theory that our top educators put forward. There should be no sounding out of letters and syllables; children should memorize words as graphic designs or diagrams. Put yourself in the head of a kid showing up for first grade. The teacher points to a design like xhyld and instructs, "This means house. When you see this, say house." So, can you memorize xhyld?
Probably. But will you be able to pick it out from similar designs, of which there are dozens, such as: xhydd, xyhld, xhydl, xyyld, xhdyl, xyjkl, xkyht, xygld, etc. Of course, youll need to be ready for variations such as XHYDD, XYHLD, XHYDL, XYYLD, XHDYL, XYJKL, XKYHH, XYGLD. Okay, maybe you have a photographic memory, so you might have a chance. But no ordinary person has even a tiny chance of being literate. You can probably feel the dyslexia creeping into your brain.
And you've just started on your first list of words. You'll need 5,000 words to be barely literate. But guess what the guru of this madcap theory said? Children can acquire sight vocabularies of 50,000 words. Not without a chip implant. But it's even worse. College students probably need 100,000 words. (Total English vocabulary is over 1,000,000 words.)
The idea that reading has something to do with memorizing word-shapes is nuts. There's no polite way to say it. English is a phonetic language, and you first need to learn the alphabet and the sounds they represent.
(Just for fun, lets jump back in history 50 centuries, to that bright day when a genius with super-hearing announced to a friend. "Know what? I can write down our entire language with about 25 symbols."
The friend naturally said, "You are crazy. Weve got thousands and thousands of words."
The First Writer explained, "No, its easy. Here's how it works. Take the word bat. So I write a b-sound, an a-sound and a t-sound, thus: B-A-T. Now, say that back to me fast."
Whereupon the friend said, "Ba-...ah-...tuh-....BAT! Darn, it works! How the heck did you figure that out?" And at that moment the friend became the First Reader.
Note that the processes are complements. Reading and writing are the reverse of each other, like ice into water, and back again. We seem to be wired to do both processes with amazing speed. Sounds become letters; letters become sounds.)
The Whole Word frauds say: But English has so many inconsistencies. Well, it certainly has some. But remember, kids don't care because they ALREADY know the pronunciations.
Really, it's quite possible to read phonetically without knowing all the rules and details. (I'm Exhibit A for this.) Similarly, most English speakers do quite well despite not being able, for example, to conjugate common but very inconsistent verbs, such as to be.)
So let's say kids go down the formal phonics route, and do memorize 100 rules. That's a walk in the park next to memorizing 100,000 words. This has always been the single most demented aspect of Whole Word, that learning 100 rules and exceptions is said to be too much work, but memorizing 100,000 sight-words is something any kid can do.
I'm not keen on memorizing little rules myself. I've worried about this aspect. But I've been comforted by Mona McNee's conclusion that little kids love all the little rules. It's like a game or a puzzle for them. As they gain mastery, they feel better about themselves and more enthusiastic about reading. Sounds good to me.
Joan Dunn, a teacher, wrote in 1955: "The children...want to be taught step by step, so that they can see their progress. The duller they are, the more important and immediate is this need." All of my research suggests that Dunn's second sentence is educations Big Profundity. The slower kids are simply being destroyed because the schools refuse to teach the basics in a systematic way.
Samuel Blumenfeld provides the bottom line for the whole society: "In fact, most reading problems can be avoided by teaching a child phonics at home before he or she goes to school."
Inoculate your children. Teach them to read early.
Many of the idiots went to work for the government; many went into politics where they found a home. Many of the latter forget where home is and stay in DC.
** people who can’t read a cereal box... **
Ah, but more importantly, can they read a tweet or a text? (omg!)
My mother, whose education ended at the 8th grade, taught me to read, write, and do basic arithmatic well before I started school. She did well enough that I was promoted to 3rd grade after one year. She had good materials however, those being a supply of No. 2 lead pencils and a Big Chief tablet. I would love to hear a teacher, any teacher, defend the load of crap that goes on in our public schools.
This sounds like someone’s Ph.D. dissertation trying to improve on an older system that has decades of proven success. The idea that, if it’s new, it has to be better, needs to be placed where the elephants go to die.
The system works as it was planned. A slave/serf society depends on ruined minds and inculcating a dislike of learning amongst the Nouveau slaves.
“Bad Schools” are the feature, not a bug.
Well, they may be illiterate, but at least it costs a fortune to teach them illiteracy.
With the dawn of computer screens with little icons on them literacy is no longer a top priority for American business. The intellectual cream will be taught to read and write; the vast bulk of the population will touch little icons which will order the hamburger and make change at the same time.
America is marching along the twisted, evil path that was trod by Mexico’s leaders long ago. They realized that an uneducated populace was a lot easier to run roughshod over and to rule.
Kicking out the Spaniards and the Catholic Church was, as far as the general populace was concerned, a one way ticket to palookaville. The Church was teaching everyone how to read and function as literate humans.
This was once humor but now probably not far from true;
Phonics is not the universal panacea. I had a son with a learning disability around reading. I spent hours until we were both in tears trying to coach him using phonics. It just didn’t work. Most people “file” things and concepts by sounds of words in their brain. He files them by pictures. So when he reads “the cow jumped over the fence. He creates a picture of a cow, a cow jumping, a cow jumping and a fence. He has no pictire for “the” and “over” guides the placement of the cow relative to the fence. Every time he comes to an abstract in a sentence, he has to stop, ignore, and go on. Making things very slow. Speed reading eventually helped him skip over words.
As I’ve told y’all before... I work for the EPA. I have a coworker, black, female, 29 years old, currently working on her SECOND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! master’s degree. She had to ask me if there were 50, 51, or 52 states in the Union, and she cannot read the word “gauge”. She looked at it funny and said “godge”, rhyming with “lodge.” Her degrees are from “historically black colleges.”
It's been reported that 30% of 8th graders read at the proficient level.
So?....How many of this 30% were taught IN THE HOME by their parents, relatives, tutors, or friends how to read? Hm?...My guess: **ALL** of them!
So?...How many of this literate 30% were taught by their government teachers?...My guess: NONE!
Where are the studies that show precisely **where** and **how** children are learning? **Who** is doing the teaching? ( The parent, the child himself, or government teacher)? Exactly how much does a child learn from a teacher in a typical government school?
If you know an academically successful child, chances are that the child has been **AFTERSCHOOLED** or **HOMESCHOOLED**. There is likely NO difference in the amount of time, or habits, between the academically successful institutionalized child and the successful homeschooler!
The only thing the government is doing is sending home a tuition-free curriculum!
I would think the answer to these questions above are critical! We are not only spending thousands of dollars a year per child but, worse, we may be WASTING HIS LIFE by forcing him to go to a government school that is teaching him NOTHING ( except how to love communism and think and reason godlessly)!
Have you ever seen the curriculum for this "McDegree?"
African American Studies Educational Goals General Competencies Critical analysis: Ability to use the African-centered perspective to interpret and analyze and critique ideas, texts, social, historical and cultural phenomena. Disciplinary knowledge: Understand the history of Black Studies, the social-political and academic arena in which it developed, its major contributors, and how Black Studies distinctive treatment of subject matter has been affected by its historical evolution
I. Critical Analysis Define African philosophy. Discuss the interconnections (or lack of) between African philosophy and African-American philosophy. Define African centeredness and explain its transformation of the Black Studies discipline. Apply the dentition of African philosophy to the cultural, social, economic, political, and spiritual Black global issues. Describe/define the role of the Black intellectual. Discuss the differences between the role of the mainstream Black intellectual and the African centered intellectual. Discuss the uses of the anthropological, political, social, and economic uses of the concept of race. Define and discuss the affective approach to knowledge. Discuss bow the concept of race has affected the development of African and diasporan literature. How do we defend the validity of an Afrocentric theory of Black personality? Outline a method of research analysis for scholarly investigation of a topic in the Black Studies social science/behavioral curriculum. Outline the processes involved in conducting a specific study using ethnographic methods.
IV. Understanding Human and Cultural Diversity Ability to work as consultants for Black Studies issues and to assist high-school teachers and administrators in developing Black Studies curricula. Ability to use quantitative data to improve quality of secondary education, Assist grassroots community organizations in understanding the psychological, sociological, economical, and health issues that relate to spouse and drug abuse in the Black community. Lead dialogue inside and outside the academy on recent "Whiteness Studies.
It’s surprisingly easy to get by without being able to read. I have friend who I didn’t know couldn’t read for 30 years that I knew him. His wife helped with legal papers, and he has been very successful. I’m guessing it’s even easier to get by these days. Heck, it can be very profitable to not speak or read English, or to pretend not to, because government workers are more than happy to help you take our money.
Our son was born in 1983. When he was around 3, I began to read to him from the “recently re-released” McGuffey Reader. HE picked it up and by the time he was 4, he was reading and speaking in complete complex sentences. I rage against the teaching methods for language used today. I’m a retired English teacher by the way. I was stunned by the poetic and lyric qualities of letters written home by Civil War combatants as chronicled by Ken Burns. Why can we not teach the same qualities today? Our schools are well lit and well heated and way too well funded. Mid 19th century pupils froze in their one classroom and learned soaring rhetoric. I guess unionization has supplanted calling. sd
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If anyone is interested or needs to pass along this information.
There is a free service on the web located at
A youtube video explains here
“I have a coworker, black, female, 29 years old, currently working on her SECOND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! masters degree.”
I work for Uncle Sugar, too. That woman will be your boss, soon.
First of all, all of those chinese engineers who are supplanting us never learned to read using phonics. Ideogram-based languages have to be read using the whole-word technique.
Second, even if phonics is used, it is only a stepping stone, until the reader becomes proficient enough to use whole-word. Phonics is horribly inefficient.
Third, anecdotally, I didn’t learn to read using phonics. I was reading before I was two, and by age three could comprehend articles in magazines like Scientific American. As noted elsewhere, it’s not a panacea. There is certainly a place for it, but many children can skip past needing phonics to read. The real tragedy is the apathy of the teaching cadre in not focusing on basics like reading and other fundamentals.
Back in’72 I was a student at Virginia Commonwealth University. I took an elective course titled Americans From Africa. The professor(an “AA”) was describing the slaves.saying “dey had nothin’ on their feets”, He was working on his Dr’s degree at U.Va. at the time.
I remember a movie that starred Johny Cash as a truck driver who couldn’t read. I wondered how he could do that, without being able to read signs, addresses, maps, etc.
I remember that movie! I think it was an ABC Movie of the Week. I was about 10 when I saw it; the scene I remember centered around a complex and confusing array of traffic signs at an intersection, and he had to guess what they meant. He guessed poorly and got a ticket.