I hope the kids who went here didn't have to do phonics all day. What a drag (connect.cehd.umn.edu).
by Dan Burns
May 31, 2023, 7:30 AM

The StarTribune sure is nice to the Read Act

Here’s the link. Why would the corporate conservative Strib essentially be all laudatory about what’s regarded as a progressive DFL win? Because they sure as heck didn’t “both-sides” this one. The only remotely critical input is from a Party of Trumper, Rep. Zach Duckworth (R-Lakeville). And according to the story he actually supports the Read Act. Just not everything else in the omnibus bill that involves more money for education, and therefore not for tax cuts for the rich.

I can certainly give you part of the reason: “LETRS® is owned by Lexia Learning, an indirect subsidiary of Veritas Capital.”

Yeah, private equity. Bringing its repugnant ways ever further into schools. Corporate conservatives do indeed love that.

A lot of the Read Act is another round of the same old “savior” stuff. And I get that people mean well. They honestly do. But sometimes even generally highly intelligent people somehow get all worked up and refuse to assess the purported Next Big Things with appropriate levels of rational, reality-based intellectual rigor.

Because when you do apply reasoning from fact you find, for example:

However, the Florida Model mirage has maintained media and political momentum, laying the foundation for the next “miracle” that wasn’t, Mississippi. Starting in 2019 and continuing through 2023, MS is characterized as a “miracle” based on NAEP data—even though no research exists for why MS has had a steady increase in NAEP score for decades, well before “science of reading” or grade retention legislation…

Just like FL, MS has seen gains in early grades, but stagnant achievement by middle school…

The current SOR movement has been fully integrated into the manufactured crisis machine of Republican efforts to dismantle public education with false charges of failure and simplistic reform that causes great harm to students.
(Radical Scholarship)

The Strib story actually presents it as a good thing that Minnesota is planning to follow the likes of Mississippi on this. Then again, wingnuts have long been pushing for Minnesota to be more like Mississippi, in all things.

I was one of the lucky ones. Reading came pretty easily, almost naturally, to me, as it does to plenty of kids. I don’t remember liking phonics. That memory may be, in the context of composing this screed, getting unconsciously filtered through some cognitive biases, but I don’t think so. What I did like was reading books from the school library about astronomy and race cars and pirates and dinosaurs and such.

Maybe it would make a lot more sense not to literally waste the time and effort of everyone involved by relentlessly drilling phonics into kids who are already picking up on reading. Maybe direct that time and effort toward the others, by having them practice reading. What with practice being the one proven way, over the millenia, for people to get better at things.

But that’s just my speculation. For actual answers, how about going to actual teachers with long experience. Find out what a lot of them have to say, and go from there.

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