Investing in literacy

The educational landscape of America is littered with discarded teaching fads, lying about in expensive disarray like the random collection of Big Wheels, Barbie dolls and Play-Doh pots abandoned in the typical suburban family room.

We’ve had brain-based teaching, charter schools, constructivism, inquiry-based learning, No Child Left Behind, both phonics and whole-language learning, teach-to-the-test, multiculturalism, portfolio-based assessments and, of course, common core, to name but a few. Many, if not all, of these methodologies undoubtedly have merit. But the restless adoption of one teaching discipline after another is a little reminiscent of the relentless pursuit of enlightenment common among New Age seekers who drift from practice to practice like shoppers in a spiritual supermarket.

Those folks seldom find Samadhi and we, as a nation, are still searching for the educational holy grail as our children seem to be slipping ever farther behind the rest of the industrial world, especially in math and science.

So when someone offers up the latest teaching technology or promises another outcome-based curriculum guaranteed to double the college acceptance rate, a certain level of skepticism is in order.

All of which is a long-winded way to address the latest liberating gospel that promises to elevate school performance and achieve the new American dream of college or career for everyone. In a word, preschool.

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