Thursday, December 19, 2002


Fiery letters are being fired off to Nebraska newspapers about the statewide assessment program that is neither. People are upset and worried that our schoolchildren are going to fall behind the rest of the country because our accountability measuring rod is so poor.

Comes now the education watchdog, www.eiaonline.com, with a report of a union-style walkout . . . only this time, it was the parents going on strike.

More than one-third of the parents of students of the Johnson Magnet School for Space Exploration and Technology in San Diego kept their kids at home in protest of school policies. Test scores fell last year and the parents blame it on the school's decision to abandon their preferred reading program, which used direct instruction techniques, instead of the radically hands-off, child-centered, progressive approaches such as whole language that most of the nation's educators have been indoctrinated with in ed schools.

Direct instruction in reading is controversial among educators because it relies on scripted lessons, teacher-led instruction, drilling and phonics. It is less controversial among parents who find their children are unable to construct their own road to literacy.

The walkout ended with students heading to the Greater Life Baptist Church, where classes were held, staffed by retired teachers and other volunteers. After a meeting with school administrators, the parents agreed to return their children to school.

Is it going to come to this to get good reading programs in our schools, and cheap, effective assessment systems in place in this state?

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