North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed the “Excellent Public Schools Act” into law on Friday, April 9.
This was purported to be one of those controversial laws proposed by the Republicans in the legislature that might squeak through on a straight party-line vote.
Or that’s what some in the vast education bureaucracy in the state wanted people to believe. The supposedly controversial portion of the law was to use the “Science of Reading” curriculum to teach reading, rather than the whole word method, which has been the predominant method used to teach reading in public schools in North Carolina.
The main difference from a layman’s perspective is that with the Science of Reading method students are taught to read using phonics. With the whole word method, according to North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt, students are taught words often with pictures, not based on letter sounds.
Although some in the education bureaucracy saw this as highly controversial, the North Caroline Legislature did not. The Excellent Public Schools Act passed the state Senate on a 48-0 vote and passed the state House on a 113-5 vote. Democrats and Republicans in Raleigh disagree on a huge number of issues, including education issues, but not on the teaching reading based on the Science of Reading.
The final hurdle for the bill to become law was Cooper signing the bill. Cooper has vetoed bills that have passed the legislature with bi-partisan majorities and then had those vetoes upheld, but none with such overwhelming majorities in both the state House and Senate.
Truitt at the press conference about the bill said that recent testing data showed that, “Two-thirds of the 8thtgraders do not read proficiently when they enter high school.”
She also said, “Early literacy instruction is the guiding force behind why I wanted to run for this position and the work we are doing in the department right now.”
The state will use COVID-19 relief money to train pre-K-5 grade teachers on the Science of Reading method of teaching.
Back during the Hoover Administration, when I was growing up, we were flooded with reading material from grade 1 on. Read in class, read at home, read during summer break. You learn by doing. Children need to turn off the baby-sitting Idiot Box, lose the soporific “dumb” phone and read something. Anything you like. From reading something, you will be directed to other books that you might want to read.
Is this just common sense?
I always have a book going, and it ain’t hurt me none at all.
Children won’t turn off the TV or the gameboy or whatever. That’s on parents, and parent is apparently not a verb anymore as in To Parent, or Parenting. They hand the toddler a smart phone as soon as it’s toilet trained and reading doesn’t come into it unless the child has a game that requires them to read.
Right! TVs & DumbPhones are baby-sitters.
Both methods of teaching reading work depending on the student. Kids also learn using context clues, fluency, sight words. There isn’t just one method to teach reading. Getting hung up on the method used limits the choices so students who do better with one excel and ones who learn better with another are left behind. Being able to teach kids a variety of methods to read and figure out words is the best way to teach reading, as well as all subjects. But that’s too reasonable. (I have an MEd in Reading)