Here we go again. A new Tweet says Jefferson County Public Schools apparently announced tonight that it is adopting a deeper learning program for all students. In doing that, the district turns its back on more than half a century of research that shows another approach, Direct Instruction, is better for disadvantaged kids.
Note, as Courier-Journal reporter Mandy McLaren’s Tweet points out, there have already been concerns from the minority community about whether or not deeper learning approaches work well for traditionally disadvantaged kids.
So, what is Direct Instruction? The National Institute for Direct Instruction’s web site explains:
“Direct Instruction (DI) is a model for teaching that emphasizes well-developed and carefully planned lessons designed around small learning increments and clearly defined and prescribed teaching tasks. It is based on the theory that clear instruction eliminating misinterpretations can greatly improve and accelerate learning.”
This isn’t complicated, and it isn’t a poorly-researched fad, either. In fact, a very recent update report again points to Direct Instruction as a powerful way to succeed with many student groups.
Still, as JCPS now exemplifies, it seems Kentucky’s educators just can’t get over their infatuation with education fads that have been a sad hallmark of the entire 28-year period since KERA came along in 1990.
And, as the Education Week blog that McLaren links to points out, civil rights leaders say it’s minority kids who suffer the most from this stuff.