It's called goal based education. In other words the powers that be are going to pre-determine what level of education your kid deserves based on their own stupid tests and what career path they choose for your kid. In our school district that meant that none but the gifted were aimed for college.
This philosophy dates back to the origins of compulsory government education not only in America, but right back to the Prussia of the early 1800s. Fichte, the German atheistic philosopher thought it best to school the "elite" 1% in separate schools which would provide something like a classical education. Another 5% would be trained to be professionals (doctors, lawyers, etc.) The remaining 94% were to be prepared for being drones. The curriculum for these children was designed to actually diminish their intellectual abilities. Especially important was the goal of diminishing an interest in self-education. Preventing them from reading was the key. The technique to accomplish this? Whole language.
The absolutely stunning history is outlined in John Taylor Gatto's The Underground History of American Education
Thank you for your post. In fact, you have just given me an idea. I have to write a senior thesis in order to receive my teaching certification in English and I just chose the topic of how the Sapir-Whorf theory has influenced educational theory. [I'm assuming it has; if not, I'll have to change my focus a bit.] I hadn't thought of pursuing the area of whole language instruction, but it might be the direction to go. I'd like to know more about its history and underpinnings. I need to get Gatto's book. I've heard a lot of good things about it.
posted on 09/26/2002 10:30:15 AM PDT
I am not sure that whole language would accomplish this goal. The sight reading method that I was taught in first grade was essentially the equivalent of whole language and actually produced a much faster, more interested reader. I realize that not all students are suited to sight reading, but those who are get a jump start on reading that sustains them all the way through college.
Did you know that dyslexics can't learn phonetic reading, and that is their main reading roadblock? So, there are two groups who benfit from sight reading, visual learners and learning disabled.
In short, there is no, one size fits all method of teaching reading. The needs of all students need to be considered and methods altered to suit. I guess what I am advocating is the old reading groups. We had planes, trains, cars and boats.
In my school district (along time ago), a classical education was the goal for everyone. Rather than condemning some to a lesser education, you had to opt out. Up to five years of Latin was offered and advanced classes were open to anyone who was interested. The school scored in the top ten in country on Iowa tests.
posted on 09/26/2002 10:48:17 AM PDT
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