https://docs.google.com/document/d/17PZ ... eVbTyaufEo
November 5, 2019
Members of the School Board,
The “whole language/balanced literacy” philosophy Lindbergh adheres to has had devastating results on our literacy rates. Reading proficiently and expressing ideas in written form are the core components of a child’s education. When we fail to provide basic reading skills to over 40% of our children, we are failing at our mission to educate.
Poor literacy skills impact our children well beyond grade school. When we allow students who are struggling readers to slip between the cracks and get pushed through the system, we are not creating productive members of society. We are not setting them up for success, only failure, which impacts everyone in the community. We all need to have the same zeal for our literacy program as we do for the new building and field improvements. Keeping our students safe and secure includes securing their future ability to communicate, collaborate, and be future ready in a society that requires literacy to be meaningfully involved.
Our Curriculum cycle is finally turning back to ELA. Given our District’s reading screen results, MAP results, and the drop in rankings, our District’s Literacy Coach should be acknowledging our Lucy Calkins’ curriculum is ineffective, not devising ways to “better utilize” it. When will we embrace the science of reading and all the data that supports it? We can no longer spin our wheels “rebalancing” our literacy curriculum which has proven incapable of reaching all of our emerging readers.
The research is out there. Neuroscientists have shown what all kids need to learn to read. It is NOT either Lucy Calkins or Fountas and Pinnell. In virtually every school that embraces these programs, they leave at least 40% of kids behind. That should not be acceptable to our Board nor our administrators. It’s time to recognize the insanity of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
For several years, a group of concerned parents have been advocating for needed changes only to be met with polite smiles and nods. The numbers of concerned parents are growing exponentially, and we want action, not accolades for our advocacy. We have spent countless hours researching reading science. In addition to investing time, many of us have invested thousands of dollars in testing and tutoring. We have 832 kids “at risk” for reading failure in our K-3rd grades. Those numbers are only explained by wide-spread curriculum failure. Our Tier 2 interventions are in triage mode because we can’t help every child failing to learn to read with our Tier 1 curriculum. We are missing the opportunity to provide needed instruction to our most vulnerable students during a time science shows is a critical period for reading acquisition, K-2.