NCTE 12.01.22 Dorothy s. Suskind

In this space, where the Reading Wars have claimed to be won, and the science settled, where narrow reading instruction is purported to support a wide range of readers, policy-makers have gone what Bruer describes as a “bridge too far.” They claim victory when in reality, their battles have only served to limit resources, diminish joy, and cancel opportunities for a child-centered curriculum.

…In closing, I want to leave you with the despondence many educators and I feel, as we witness schools transition from a literacy-rich environment to a scripted curriculum that deprofessionalizes educators, hampers teachers’ ability to individualize instruction, and wrings the joy right out of reading and writing, as children’s books, trade books, and big books are removed from the classroom in exchange for expensive worksheets. In this altered reality punctuated by policy, funds are diverted from students and gifted to boxed curriculums, as copy machines and publishers claim their prize in the winner’s circle, offering up Virginia as a cautionary tale to other states that are shortly slated to fall.

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