The “whole language” fiasco

From The Spectator Letters July 11

The ruinous legacy of ‘whole language’ (Opinion, July 8)

James McDonald is right-on with his condemnation of the “whole language” instructional method of teaching reading. That method is difficult, expensive, ineffective, and error-prone.

The “whole language” fiasco is part of an overall problem; the existence of a huge, comfortable, insensitive, expensive government monopoly. At the top is the Education Ministry, producing curricula guaranteed to produce bad results in any subject, particularly math and science. At the bottom is the benighted teacher, doing her best to educate her charges in spite of the monumental blunders being made above her and out of her control.

Part of the solution is to have the government money follow the student, not the district, and to let parents select a school for their kids. The better schools would attract students, leaving the poorer schools to save their skins by learning from their peers how to do better. Of course, selecting a different school is possible today — but only for families wealthy enough (or dedicated and self-sacrificial enough) to be able to afford to pay twice, once to the government in taxes and again to the alternative school in hard, after-tax dollars. Even then, the curricula stand in the way, with education happening in spite of, not because of, them.

We are paying more than enough for our education system but are not getting what we pay for.

Frank Gue, Burlington


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