Reversing American Decline by Reducing Education's Casualties
John F. Kennedy said that the ignorance of one voter impairs the security of all, yet the issues on which America’s future hinges are irrelevant and incomprehensible to a huge swath of today’s electorate. The resources below were developed for citizens who want to better understand and address this problem.
Reversing American Decline
Reversing American Decline links America's current economic, social, and cultural directions to decades of failed public schooling, especially to ineffective reading instruction. A huge swath of the electorate has been excluded from the literate culture. The problem is correctable but can't be solved overnight. Public awareness and community focus on local school board leadership are the keys to change.
The following documents offer additional support for those interested in addressing the reading crisis, including:
How well are your local schools teaching children to read?
Some say that children with social and economic disadvantages can't learn. However, the Education Consumers Foundation's analysis of data in various US markets contradicts that conclusion: there are schools in every market that greatly outperform those with virtually identical student populations. See here to review school performance charts in states across the US.
How Rigorous Are Your State's Proficiency Standards?
Each state defines for itself what "proficient" means; some states have a rigorous definition, while others are less strict in their standards. To see how states compare, ECF has published charts showing the percentage of students deemed proficient in various subjects and grade levels and compared them to percentages reported for each state by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP, or "The Nation's Report Card"), considered to be the gold standard.
Clear Teaching - The Book
Written by veteran journalist Shepard Barbash over a period of 10 years, Clear Teaching is a well-researched, highly readable introduction to Direct Instruction (DI), a systematic teaching approach which for more than 40 years has dramatically improved learning outcomes for students of all abilities and from all walks of life. The book looks at the development of DI through the early experiences of its creator, Zig Engelmann; explains the principles that underpin this approach; and looks at DI's reception in the world of teaching, where it has been effectively shunned despite a formidable research base and example after example of transformative success.
Those wanting a print version of Clear Teaching can order it from Amazon or download this order form; those interested in bulk copies for distribution to staff, parents, community leaders or others can contact ECF for order details.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us through our contact page; a representative of the foundation will contact you shortly.