Taking Back the Public Schools

Writing for The New American, Sam Blumenfeld has a plan for taking back the public schools from “the socialists” who, according to Blumenfeld, have been engaging in a decades-long plot to produce functional illiterates so that they will grow up to be Democrats. (Yeah, the whole piece is like that.) And his strategy involves, not better funding for public schools, or reducing the burdensome, irrelevant, and unfunded overhead imposed by Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” initiative. No, his strategy is to get parents to push school boards to reject what he calls the “whole language” approach to reading education, and replace it with a phonics-based program instead.

But the parents who put their children in these schools want them to be taught to read. They are the natural allies of the conservatives who want to take the schools back. Just as Obama as community organizer organized the “have-nots” into a local political force, so must conservatives organize parents in their communities — White, Latino, and African American — to pressure school boards to start teaching their children to read with intensive phonics. They can be called Parents for Literacy.

Of course, a phonics-based reading program will need a curriculum specifically designed to teach phonics. I wonder where the schools will be able to find such a thing?

First, we propose that the school board authorize the creation of a pilot program in which Alpha-Phonics is used to teach the worst readers to read. The program will prove that all children can be taught to read provided the correct teaching method is used. Now there are other very good phonics programs in existence, but as the author of Alpha-Phonics, I know how well it works and how inexpensive it is. The board may claim that they don’t have the money for this project. Yet they have enough money for programs that don’t work.

Hey, that’s great, we’ll all just buy his book. Lucky for us we have this opportunity, eh? We don’t even have to give the school district any more money to do it, ’cause they can just use the money they’ve been spending on “bad” programs.

Personally, I’m all for quality reading education, because I had one. That’s one of the ways I can recognize a scam when I see one.


  1. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    I saw somewhere lists of how the ten best-educated and the ten worst-educated states voted. All the ten best-educated went to Obama; nine of the ten worst-educated to Romney.

  2. lordshipmayhem says

    A friend of mine has 30 years’ experience in the elementary school system. He hates “whole-language instruction”. He has regularly taken classes (inner-city kids, BTW, not the sons and daughters of the plutocracy who are much more able to afford to get their little darlings the help they need) and taken them from nowhere near able to read, to reading at grade level.

    For a couple of decades, he and his fellow experienced teachers had to hide their phonics textbooks from school board inspectors, lest they be seized as “inappropriate”. The educational bureaucracy would tour his classroom to try to ascertain why he and his fellow old-timers were successful when newer teachers with training in the latest methods were transferring illiterates from grade to grade (heaven forbid you should actually fail or pass a kid). They’d never admit in a million years that “whole language” was part of the problem.

    Then, a study compared the results of the two methods. It had to be killed after half a school year, because all the parents in the Whole Language group could see their kids falling steadily behind those in the Phonics group in terms of reading comprehension, and insisted their kids be transferred.

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