February 27, 1998 in City

Sugarcoat What Works And Then Re-Employ It Trendy Flunks Out Phonics Results Easily Beat Those Of ‘Whole Language.’

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Educrat (ej’-u-krat) n. A heavily degreed bureaucrat who attends committee meetings and uses impenetrable jargon to defend ineffective but trendy educational methods that create a need for more committee meetings.

Phonics (fon’-iks) n. A method of teaching children to read. Proven effective during centuries of use. Attacked by educrats during the late 20th century, but restored by popular demand after other instructional methods led to high rates of illiteracy. Teaches children the sounds made by letters of the alphabet.

Commission (Kum-ish’-un) n. A group of well-meaning capitalists who assume, to the detriment of the increasingly illiterate labor pool, that educrats know how to make schools better.

Parent (par’-unt) n. An adult with common sense. Hires phonics tutors who teach children to read after educrats bungle the job.

In the beginning, public schools had no bureaucracy, and they produced children fluent in English, Latin, geography, history, science, math and fine arts. Then came the administrative hierarchies that justify their existence by embracing an endless parade of nutball pedagogical trends. Among those were self-esteem, which junked academics; open-concept classrooms, which eliminated walls, making it impossible for students to hear; and “whole math,” which asks kids to invent their own number theories, rather than suffering the psychic oppression of (shudder) memorizing the multiplication table.

However, the most damaging trend is the disdain for phonics. Schools nationwide - Texas, Arizona, Mississippi, California and others - have found that, regardless of poverty levels, students taught with phonics attain literacy rates of 80 to 90 percent. Students taught with the “whole language” method do half that well. Here in Washington, for example, 44 percent of children can’t read at grade level. This is a disaster. Kids who can’t read can’t learn. Yet, educrats balk at a return to phonics. Ewww, they say, spouting great clouds of diversity jargon. How reactionary. Let’s have a commission meeting instead.

Faced with the threat of illiterate children, there is only one thing to do: Make phonics trendy by offering educrats state grant money - the mother’s milk of edutocracy - if they will give it a try. That’s what Senate Bill 6509 would do and it ought to pass.

, DataTimes MEMO: For opposing view, see “Useful method not a complete solution”

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = COLUMN, EDITORIAL - From both sides

For opposing view, see “Useful method not a complete solution”

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = COLUMN, EDITORIAL - From both sides

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