The Edwards Agency

Opinion

Children not the beneficiaries of education reform

education reform Many fine, well-meaning people, blind to the dangers of O.B.E./Performance-Based Goals 2000 Education Reforms, believe it will solve society's social ills.
   There are a few children in every school (according to many teachers and even some administrators), about 2% of the school population, that have real problems. That doesn't mean that most or all school children need counseling and psychological help.
   So one would question the need for so many counselors and psychologists on the school district payroll. They are not just guidance counselors who give kids career advice.
   Instead, children need that money spent on classroom teachers and supplies. Dwelling on our problems only imprisons us in our unhappiness; whereas the tools to escape from problems and establish a successful life can be presented to children in the form of learning to read well, use math effectively, understand the true history and culture of their country, and the workings of our natural world in science. In other words, academics!
   Instead, they are "taught to read" with the whole language method, a faulty method that even the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NEAP) has found produces 41% of 4th graders, 31% of 8th graders and 25% of 12th graders scoring below the basic reading level.
   Educators believe we should get rid of drill and repetition and have it replaced with: guessing what a word says, using pictures, memory, the "shape" of words; and even "inventive" spelling that only the writer can decipher.
   Phonics have been proven far superior. My daughter's son's teacher was aghast when she found out my daughter was teaching him to read with phonics in first grade. He is in Special Ed. because of learning disabilities, will go into a 5th grade class this year, but has been reading at or above 9th grade level for over a year.
   Do you think most home schoolers and private schools use whole word, or phonics? Phonics, of course!
   The schools are promoting self-esteem big-time! The best boost to children's sense of self-worth comes from accomplishment. In school, that means succeeding in academics for which schools were created; not self esteem--pride, egotism, arrogance, conceitedness, narcissism, and a sense of superiority. We see this self-esteem played out in gangs where inflated egos protect being "dissed" (disrespected) with violence.
   I urge you parents to not only really look into what Education Reform is doing to your child; but start attending school board meetings, en masse. Get a copy of the school district budget (freedom of information act) and copy of the code that enables you to decipher those extensive budget books. Find out where education reform is coming from, who is promoting it, and why!
   Who will it benefit? Certainly not children; scores are going down despite districts juggling the way SATs are scored.
   Look, listen, learn, and make your voice heard.

Dorothy M. Buehler, Bothell