Many more still need to update their reading programs
Education Week just released an interesting video with a professor from an Arkansas school of education and a classroom teacher who supports that college’s student teaching program. These educators only recently started to instruct student teachers properly about the initial phase of teaching reading.
The change is coming due to a recent Arkansas law, largely pushed by parents, that finally requires education schools to instruct based on what science shows works best.
With statistics like these from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) (accessed from the NAEP Data Explorer web tool) in the table below, I suspect many Ed Schools in Kentucky need to pay attention.
Note in particular that reading problems are not restricted to those students with identified learning disabilities. Among students not specifically identified with learning disabilities, more than one in four still doesn’t read even marginally well. Overall, nearly one in three of all Kentucky students do not have even basic reading skills in the fourth grade.
Some in Kentucky are starting to listen, including Dr. Randy Poe, superintendent of the Boone County School District. He agrees that Ed School programs in the Bluegrass State need updating.
House Bill 272 from the 2019 Regular Legislative Session was an attempt to do the same thing Arkansas is doing. The bill initially had a generally focused section that would have pushed better reading programs into both our schools and college teacher preparation programs. Unfortunately, the bill got watered down to only focus on Ed school improvement and then the bill totally died in committee.
So, it looks like the Whole Language/Balanced Literacy crowd is still holding sway in Kentucky and the Bluegrass State has a considerable way to go to match what is already happening in Arkansas. And, our kids will continue to suffer until this changes.