"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, February 02, 2015

Outspoken and clueless about education

Sent to the Denver Post, Feb. 1, 2015
Re: Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet for vice president? (Denver Post, Jan 30, 2015)
At senate hearings considering the federal education law, Sen. Bennet proclaimed: “In my mind if you want to cure this problem of poverty in our country, the way to do that is by making sure that people can read when they’re in the first grade.”

This is dead wrong. Studies consistently show that children can learn to read much later than grade one, and do very well in school. Also, even if learning to read at grade one helped academic achievement, education is not the answer to reducing poverty: Reducing poverty is the key to improving education. Poverty means poor nutrition, inadequate health care, and little access to books: all of these mean lower academic achievement. 

Based on his lack of knowledge of education issues, Michael Bennet is not qualified to run for any public office, let alone vice-president.

Stephen Krashen

Michael Bennet quote: Washington Post, The Answer Sheet, February 1, 2015. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/02/01/principal-what-ive-learned-about-annual-standardized-testing/

Sources available in these publications:

Learning to read early:
Krashen, S. 2011. Need Children Read "Proficiently" by Grade 3? Some Possible Misinterpretations of the "Double Jeopardy" Study. Language Magazine 11,2: 24-27.
Krashen, S. and McQuillan, J. 1996. The Case for Late Intervention: Once a Good Reader, Always a Good Reader. Culver City, CA: Language Education Associates. (19 p.) . Reprinted in C. Weaver (Ed.) Reconsidering a Balanced Approach to Reading. Urbana, Il: NCTE. pp. 409-422.
The effect of poverty:
Berliner, D. 2009. Poverty and Potential: Out-of-School Factors and School Success. Boulder and Tempe: Education and the Public Interest Center & Education Policy Research Unit. http://epicpolicy.org/publication/poverty-and-potential;
Krashen, S. 1997. Bridging inequity with books. Educational Leadership  55(4): 18-22.

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