From Time: “’For seven years in a row, Oakland was the fastest-gaining urban district in California for reading [because of phonics],’ recalls Weaver. ‘And we hated it.’
The teachers felt like curriculum robots—and pushed back. ‘This seems dehumanizing, this is colonizing, this is the man telling us what to do,’ says Weaver, describing their response to the approach. “So we fought tooth and nail as a teacher group to throw that out.” It was replaced in 2015.
Now Weaver is heading up a campaign to get his old school district to reinstate many of the methods that teachers resisted so strongly: specifically, systematic and consistent instruction in phonemic awareness and phonics.” Read more here.
Additional context from IRG Senior Research Director Quinton Klabon:
- In my opinion, this is where wokeness truly hurts children: eliminating phonics because they want every classroom to be Dead Poets Society, removing math requirements over “math anxiety,” glossing over the fundamentals of American history, and saying, “No more college ACTs, just vibes.”
- Even school shutdowns could be mostly repaired by good reading instruction, as seen in Mississippi’s and Tennessee’s full reading recovery.
- There is no more urgent need than changing reading: mandate how reading is taught in teacher colleges and the classroom, hold back the lowest-testing 3rd graders and implement catch-up plans, and make our state exam as hard as the national exam so that we aren’t inflating our grades.