QUOTE OF THE DAY….From Ezra Klein, reacting to the news that Reading First, a program begun in 2001 that mandates “scientifically-based” reading instruction, has had little success in improving reading scores:
“This fits into the larger pattern in education reform efforts which is that most ideas fall short of expectations.”
Now, who knows? Maybe RF was poorly implemented. Maybe it just happened to be a bad idea. But it’s astonishing how many efforts to improve K-12 instruction turn out not to work. Even the ones that do seem to work usually turn out to fail if you just wait a few years or try to scale them up beyond pilot size.
This is one of the reasons I don’t blog much about education policy even though it’s an interesting subject. For all the sturm and drang, in the end nothing really seems to matter. After a hundred years of more-or-less rigorous pedagogical research, we still don’t know how to teach kids any better than we used to. Early childhood interventions, if they’re really early and really long lasting, seem to have some effect, but beyond that the only thing that works consistently is getting poor kids out of schools that are 90% poor. Unfortunately, the former is really expensive and the latter is well nigh impossible in most places.
It must be a discouraging field to work in.