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Certainty And Good Policymaking Don't Mix


I'm afraid all this will be the new "Reading First." A massive, expensive uncontrolled experiment with mostly no significant impact that, most importantly, almost everyone forgets ever happened. There are lots of people out there who seem convinced that we've never seriously tried teaching phonics in the last 50 years.

I think much of the polarization arises from a sense of urgency and panic when it comes to the state of education in our nation. You can argue about how much of the "panic" is feigned for political gain, but either way there is a valid concern for the amount of time it takes to create reliable and valid assessments, and the number of students (mostly low-income minorities) that are "lost" during that time. It also takes time to convince states and districts to make significant changes to existing systems, which is why tying evaluation mandates to money seems to work so well. While I agree with your headline, what would you say to those who want change effective immediately? Why should we wait while researchers and evaluators take their time?


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