Schools that want federal funds must teach phonics to new readers. I was stunned by this paragraph in a Christian Science Monitor story:
Critics also worry about the studies left out of the reading panel’s scope. Of 100,000 studies first culled by the panel, all but experimental research that adhered to the scientific method were eliminated. That left around 40.
Only 40 scientific studies out of 100,000? Apparently, so. The critics complain there’s too much reliance on science and quantifiable data. They see teaching as a mystic art.
“Even if you could prove that all these top-down mandates had science behind them, the human spirit would deny and resist that,” says Thomas Newkirk, director of the New Hampshire Literacy Institute in Durham.
Professor (Michael) Kamil at Stanford disagrees. He acknowledges that there may be a “mystery” and “art” to teaching. “But there’s a heck of a lot of science,” he says. “And we can deal with science.”