Wondering about all the recent articles claiming teachers don’t know how to teach reading, and their education schools are failing them?
It appears to be about nonprofits! These groups are competing with universities. They promise to better prepare teachers to teach reading, for a fee, of course!
But there’s no proof they will do teacher preparation better. It’s unclear why nonprofits are considered experts.
The goal along with making money appears to be to place children on digital devices for most of their learning.
Here are some examples. Click the titles for the links.
The Wall Street Journal recently promoted a group called Early Reading Matters “Nonprofit Trains Teachers on the ABCs of Reading in the Classroom.”
Early Reading Matters is a part of Teachers Matter which promotes itself as an organization to teach teachers a variety of skills. Here’s the link.
Why is this group untrustworthy?
- They make the usual blanket statements critical of public schools.
- They love Common Core and look to align skills with the Common Core State Standards.
- They partner with anti-public school, pro-privatization groups like Digital Promise, Literacy Design Collaborative, Educators 4 Excellence, LRNG, National Urban League, #Teach Strong, and Teach to Lead.
- Many of the instructors have ties to New Leaders, Relay Graduate School of Education, and charter schools.
- Their founder focused on technology. She also worked with New Visions for Public Schools which promotes charters schools.
- In 2018, New Visions received a $14 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
- One of their recent reports is about the promise of competency-based professional development, coupled with “micro-credentials.”
- They stress their program has scientific research, but I see no peer-reviews.
- It’s questionable why the instructors are considered experts when it comes to reading instruction.
Philadelphia’s school district is spending $17 million to bring in the Children’s Literacy Initiative.
Most of the teachers there don’t want this group and claim they don’t need them to do their jobs. But a few people on the school board hired them anyway.
There’s no proof they succeed at raising student scores, or that they help teachers help students read. They rely on research from another nonprofit called Research for Action! You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours!
- They say, The reason traditional professional development is ineffective is that it doesn’t support teachers during the stage of learning with the steepest learning curve: implementation. But that’s not exactly true. Teachers from good university programs always spend time student teaching and are supervised for months before they get their own classrooms.
- CLI received a $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. It’s to be spent on teacher training in charter, public, and parochial schools. Why are we funding teacher training for parochial schools?
This nonprofit works in Mississippi. Its CEO is from Teach for America, although to his credit he also went back to school and got degrees in education. They received $100 million from the former CEO of Netscape.
The University of Mississippi seems to have embraced the Barksdale Reading Institute.
It’s hard to understand why any university would embrace a nonprofit over the professors they hire to teach reading. But universities are being corporatized like K-12 education.
The Barksdale Reading Institute partners with a variety of Mississippi groups including another school nonprofit called Move to Learn which privatizes recess.
The Barksdale Reading Institute sells Reading Universe which is mostly phonics-based.
This is a group that goes into Texas A&M-San Antonio University’s School of Education to teach future teachers. Who does the university hire to prepare teachers how to teach reading? Why would any quality university need outsiders instead of the professors they hire, to teach reading?
This makes me smile a little. Even an Atlanta first grader, who decided her classmates weren’t learning their ABCs fast enough, is starting her own nonprofit with her parents. Right now they are helping to create little home libraries, but even here, there’s a subtle implication that teachers aren’t doing their job correctly. How many more nonprofits will be created?
Look for more vilification of university education schools and their reading programs, and more selling out by those schools to nonprofits.
Watch more nonprofits get hefty grants from school districts to train teachers in reading preparation, whether they are good at training or not, especially in schools that are transforming to all-technology. The controversy isn’t always what it seems.