Ferreting out the truth

Stealing from Stephen Krashen’s newsletter, I want to point out that it is just this sort of detective work that yields so much truth. He points out that educational hotshots like Geoffrey Canada – not to minimize in any way the accomplishments of the man, only his misappropriation of data-based education with longer school days as the basis of success – are selling a product. The real reason for his own success comes out when he speaks of his love of reading, nurtured by his mother.
Here’s what Krashen says:
Geoffrey Canada says that a longer school day, increased
accountability, and “data to drive instruction” can help children who
have fallen behind (“The truth about our schools,” October 13). But in
his autobiography, Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun, he credits reading for his
own school success, despite growing up in poverty: “I loved reading,
and my mother, who read voraciously too, allowed me to have her novels
after she finished them. My strong reading background allowed me to
have an easier time of it in most of my classes.” **

**There is no clear data supporting longer school days, increased
accountability and data-driven instruction as a means of improving
school performance. In contrast, there is overwhelming evidence
showing that Mr. Canada’s reading habit was indeed the basis for his
school success: Many studies show that providing access to interesting
and comprehensible reading substantially improves school performance.”

This, to me, is exactly like the person who took 3 or 4 years of Spanish and then spent two or three years working in a Spanish-speaking country who then attributes his fluency to those verb conjugations he rattled off in Senora Murphy’s class. B.S.

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