Educational CyberPlayGround

History of reading

or go to jail


Classrooms haven't changed much since 1880 -- a teacher stands in front of a blackboard and teaches at the student. After BILLIONS of dollars spent in K-12 education?

The New England Primer was the first reading primer designed for the American Colonies.
It became the most successful educational textbook published in 18th century America and it became the foundation of most schooling before the 1790s. In the 17th century, the schoolbooks in use had been brought over from England. By 1690, Boston publishers were reprinting the English Protestant Tutor under the title of The New England Primer. The Primer included additional material that made it widely popular with colonial schools until it was supplanted by Noah Webster's Blue Back Speller after 1790.
He has been called the "Father of American Scholarship and Education." His blue-backed speller books taught five generations of American children how to spell and read, and made their education more secular and less religious. According to Ellis (1979) he gave Americans "a secular catechism to the nation-state." Years later, he described the teachers as the "dregs of humanity" and complained that the instruction was mainly in religion. Webster's negative experiences in primary school motivated him to improve the education experience of future generations. He enrolled at Yale just shy of his 16th birthday, studying during his senior year with the learned Ezra Stiles, Yale's president. His four years at Yale overlapped with the American Revolutionary War, and because of food shortages and threatened invasions by the British, many of his college classes were held in other towns. He served in the Connecticut Militia. His father had mortgaged the farm to send Webster to Yale, but the son was now on his own and had no more to do with his family. Webster lacked firm career plans after graduating from Yale in 1778, later writing that a liberal education "disqualifies a man for business". He briefly taught school in Glastonbury, found the working conditions to be harsh and the pay low, then left to study law to increase earning power.


2010 43% of all students in K-12 are now minority.

[1] Although two-thirds of high-growth, high-wage jobs require a college degree, only one-third of Americans have one. Also, while 90% of the fastest-growing jobs in the economy will require higher education, more than 60% of Americans ages 25-64 have no postsecondary education credential. As a result, a U.S. worker with only a high school diploma makes almost 40% less than one with a bachelor's degree.

[2] In its report, " Beyond NCLB: Fulfilling the Promise to Our Nation's Children," the panel acknowledged that the law had "spurred some improvement," but said that was not enough, and recommended a number of changes to make sure high-school graduates are better prepared for higher education or jobs. Forty percent of students at four-year institutions and 63 percent at two-year colleges require remedial education, according to a study cited in the report. In a survey of human-resource professionals, the report says, 42 percent of respondents said new employees with a high-school diploma were "deficient" in their overall preparation for the entry-level jobs they typically fill. The increasing concerns over how much students are learning are fueled by a U.S. Labor Department report saying that over the next decade, more than 87 percent of new high-wage jobs will require more than a high-school diploma. As states become more aware of the problem, they are developing ways to test soon-to-be graduates. For example, the report says, 26 states have joined the American Diploma Project Network and are now working together to align their high-school exit requirements with the skills required for higher education and employment.

[3] Reading First was a cornerstone of NCLB. The Inspector General Department's Report, a scorching internal review of the Bush administration's billion-dollar-a-year reading program.

2010 The share of 18- to 24-year-olds who earned a high school diploma reached an all-time high of 85% up from 84% in 2007. Among Asians, the number was 92%, whites 90%, blacks 79% and Hispanics 70%. Minority enrollment appeared to be concentrated in the "basic tiers" of higher education, such as community colleges and trade schools. It is not clear whether gains occurred in more selective four-year colleges, which often use affirmative action to promote diversity. A steady rise in the minority population that is expected to make them the new American majority by mid-century. [4]

50% of all Americans over 65 years old are functionally illiterate.
This means they can't read the previous sentence and they can't read the front page of the newspaper.
What can so-called literate adults do?

Can it be Racism, Cultural Confusion and Ignorance? Can it be a Culture of Corruption in Education and Politics?

"Incomprehensible jargon is the hallmark of a profession."
-- Kingman Brewster (1919-1988), diplomat and president of Yale University
Unfortunately, many educated speakers of English are not really proficient in their own language. They become lost when reading structurally complex sentences. Their working vocabularies are depauperate, a deficiency for which they all too often compensate by mastering a discipline-specific jargon which gives the impression of communication without its substance. A complex tool has value only in proportion to the skill of the person operating it.

Why the majority of the people don't vote. They can't vote because they can't read, and that is just the way the politicians want it. That functionally illiterate will never learn how much money was made by politicians who failed to teach them how to read and sadly can't vote them out of office.

SCHOOL FOR PROFIT - The Bush Family.

And in spite of all of the millions that have poured into the district for new reading programs since 1998, reading scores for most Fort Worth Texas students have not improved.
School For Profit Scam - By 1994, Dallas entrepreneur Randy Best had made a fortune in investment banking.

That year he decided to branch out. He rounded up investors and, with $3.5 million in hand, founded a for-profit company called Voyager Expanded Learning. One of those investors was Charles Miller, a millionaire friend of George Bush. The Texas governor tapped Miller to lead the statewide task force on school reform. Miller was also a friend of Margaret Spellings, another education advisor who would become secretary of education when Bush became president. Best's most valued political contact, however, was his friend George W. Bush. The Dallas entrepreneur contributed more than $45,000 to Bush's gubernatorial campaign, according to a report by Texans for Public Justice.
Five years into the 21st century, about 40 percent of American children were not proficient readers — that is, able to read fluently, comprehend, and retain knowledge. In Texas that figure is an abysmal 77 percent. Those figures are not from state reading tests such as the TAKS. They come from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, an independent arm of the Department of Education that takes the pulse of the nation's schools each year and looks at trends every five years. Its recent findings indicate that U.S. schools show little “significant difference” in the performance of kids in the early grades since 1992 and literally no differences in the math and reading scores of 17-year-olds over the past 34 years.


University PH.D's have collaborated with publishers and government over the past 100 years and they have been in charge all this time - we have done it their way all this time and this what "they" have delivered . . .
Retired Indiana University (of Pennsylvania) physics professor Donald E. Simanek has assembled considerable data on just who becomes a teacher. Freshman college students who choose education as a major "are on the average, one of the academically weakest groups.

The Decline of Education 1.
Abstract: Thirty years of teaching in several universities inspires reflection on the past and the and future of education. It's not a pretty picture. This talk includes examples from the real world and also utopian observations from the ivory tower. Educational ineptitude

-- After climbing in most of the 20th century and peaking in the late 1960's, the national graduation rate steadily declined, settling around 70 percent in the last few years. For black and Latino students, the numbers are worse. Only about 55 percent of African American students and 53 percent of Latinos graduate, a study last November 2002 by the Manhattan Institute shows, though there are many competing theories to explain such disparities.

-- Students Show Few Gains Since "No Child" 2005
Fourth-grade reading scores nationally showed a modest one-point gain over the past two years, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), after demonstrating a significant six-point jump between 2000 and 2002, before the No Child Left Behind law was implemented. Only three states showed a significant gain in fourth-grade reading -- and three states showed a significant drop
.Washington Post, Thursday, October 20, 2005; Page A 3.

2007 The U.S. Education Department reported nationwide
73% of 12th-grade students achieved a "basic" reading score in 2005, down from 80% in 1992, according to the NAEPa sampling test the government calls the "nation's report card." 61% scored at or above the basic level in math.
National Assessment of Educational Progress Report - Download Report
Could these disappointing results be blamed on stupid, malformed tests and why they are making so much money for the companies who publish them?
National Center for Education Statistics

Can Johnny read yet?
2003 What the numbers revealed was that the nation's fourth-graders have made some progress in reading throughout the 1990s, while 12th-graders are actually doing worse. At the eighth-grade level, the lowest performing students made gains since 1998, when the test was last administered. Overall, however, eighth-grade scores remained fairly stagnant.There also was evidence that in some states - particularly in the Southeast - students are reading better. Also encouraging was evidence that in some areas and at some levels the gap between the reading skills of white students and minority students is narrowing. But overall, for many reformers, the results seemed mildly encouraging at best.

The Nation's Report Card Fourth-grade Reading 2000
National Center for Education Statistics
Washington, D.C. April 6, 2001 Remarks as prepared for delivery by U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige

Ed Rubenstein: The Stupid American? Look again.
Edwin S. Rubenstein Archive December 22, 2005
National Data, By [17]Edwin S. Rubenstein


50 Years Later Brown vs. Board of Education



Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas
[is / was] a Gullah speaker. (12/14/00) issue of the New York Times in Thomas's own words.

Mississippi Desegregation Suit Settled for $500 Million
By Michael A. Fletcher Tuesday, April 24, 2001; Page A01
Mississippi agreed yesterday to end more than a quarter-century of legal battles over the desegregation of its higher education system, reaching a $500 million settlement intended to remedy decades of state-sanctioned racial discrimination. Pioneer James Meredith, was the first African American student accepted by the University of Mississippi. His attendance provoked riots. Here he is escorted to class by U.S. marshals and troops. Oct. 2, 1962.

Link between literacy and prison. "Read or go to jail."

They plan how many jail cells they will build in the future by how many children are not reading on grade level by third grade.

The "standard" is the variety of language used in business and academic writing and the mass media - the variety you need if you want to get a college education or a high-paying job. It is the variety of the powerful, unmarked by any features associated with a particularly powerless group. But people have come to believe the standard variety is inherently better for effective communication than other varieties - more logical, more precise, even more beautiful. The result is that society at large has stigmatized these other, nonstandard varieties rather than considering their contributions to effective communication, including their use in the teaching of standard English.

Richard Riley Previous Secretary of Education
"54 percent of all teachers have limited English proficient (LEP) students in their classrooms, yet only one-fifth of teachers feel very prepared to serve them.

Educational CyberPlayGround: Music, Literacy and Technology


Integrate Literacy, Music and Technology into the Classroom.

In "Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance" 1 of my favorite books Pirsig says,

"We build up whole cultural intellectual patterns based on past 'facts' which are extremely selective. When a new fact comes in that does not fit the pattern we don't throw out the pattern. We throw out the fact. A contradictory fact has to keep hammering and hammering and hammering, sometimes for centuries, before maybe one or two people see it. And then these one or two have to start hammering on others for a long time before they see it too . . . Seeing is not believing. Believing is seeing."


Understanding is best achieved when aspects of reality are studied in isolation from each other (biology, history, physics, language, etc.).


Understanding is best achieved when the holistic nature of reality is recognized so that all knowledge becomes part of a single, mutually supportive conceptual framework.


National Voting Rights Museum and Institute no longer exists
1012 Water Avenue
Selma, Alabama 36702-2516

Only 1 out of 3 people vote in elections - CNN 11/4/02

Congress extended the Voting Rights Act again in 1975. The authorizing bill retained the automatic triggering provision that sent examiners to states maintaining discriminatory voting policies in 1964. New provisions then banned all literacy tests permanently, established new federal policies designed to increase voter turnout among American Indians and Spanish-speaking Americans, and allowed individuals (as well as the Department of Justice []) to sue in federal court to request that voting examiners be sent to a particular area. Congress set the 1975 extension to run out in seven years. It reauthorized the Voting Rights Act once more in 1982 ? this time for 25 years. The 1982 bill permitted private parties to sue in federal court under the act to overturn any election law or procedure that produced de facto discriminatory results. However, areas could now escape oversight by federal examiners if they maintained a clean voting rights record for ten years.

A little History. Can't Pass the Literacy Test? Then you can't vote.

8/28/2013 50th Anniversary of the March On Washington and Martin Luther's I Have A Dream Speech, on of best in history!

2013 Supreme Court Strikes Down Voting Rights Act the Court had struck down a “key part” of the Act by ruling that one of its sections was unconstitutional. It's a huge defeat for the civil rights community on the most important civil rights law ever passed, right now, there is no Voting Rights Act operative in the United States.
The Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act on Tuesday, the provision of the landmark civil rights law that designates which parts of the country must have changes to their voting laws cleared by the federal government or in federal court.
The 5-4 ruling, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts and joined by Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, ruled in Shelby County v. Holder that “things have changed dramatically” in the South in the nearly 50 years since the Voting Rights Act was signed in 1965.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg issued a wide-ranging dissent on behalf of herself and Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, justifying the continued vitality of the Voting Rights Act's preclearance provision.


Sue Dorfman WorldViewsMedia