One of the biggest myths with regard to education is that the more money we spend on it, the better the education will be. I want to state categorically that while I certainly am in favor of providing the best education possible, the amount of money spent on education bears no direct relationship to the quality of the education.
The worst educational system in the United States is in Washington, DC, which, historically, has received more money per student than any state in the union. Meanwhile, New Hampshire, a state whose education spending ranks near the bottom compared with all other states, has one of the highest educational achievement levels.
It’s not the money. It’s the philosophy.
Whether you start the critique with the absence of genuine phonics or expand it to include inventive spelling (yes, that does exist) and indoctrination into trendy subjects such as environmentalism, while ignoring history and other essentials, it’s the philosophy that drives how well students learn.
I remember when I was in first grade–it’s a stretch, but I can remember that far back—learning to read. Our school in my small town in Indiana apparently was a little slower in picking up the progressive trends. We were taught extensive phonics; I learned to read quickly. The funny thing is that while we were receiving this solid education, we also were reading the new Dick and Jane readers. “See Spot run. Run, Spot, run. Run, run, run.” I think it was the plot that held my attention.
Those readers were absolutely ludicrous for students who were learning phonics. I guess they were told they had to use them because everyone else was. To this day, though, I am grateful for the phonics I learned from the start.
By the way, it doesn’t take a lot of fancy technology to teach a child to read. The teacher, the phonics book, and the blackboard covered it all nicely.
How times have changed.