Doug Noon expresses skepticism about his district’s adoption of a Response to Intervention framework for the new school year. What bothers him, from his veteran teacher’s point of view, is the seeming prescriptiveness and detachment of the program:
We were told that we’ll need to find some half-hour blocks where we can do “interventions” with groups of students who are not making adequate progress on the one-minute reading “fluency” tests, and that fidelity to any adopted programs will be critical to student success. This did not play well with veteran teaching staff who question the aims and practicality of this approach to reform. While I am in favor of formative assessment, I do not believe we should confuse reading rate with reading fluency, and I hope we do not make reading rates a district-wide instructional objective at the elementary level. ...
These sorts of initiatives serve a constructive purpose when they get us talking to one another and trying new things. But when our practical knowledge is discounted, incoherence is sure to follow. We need to build capacity for teachers to exercise professional judgment, and not simply train them to follow a manual.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Blogboard blog.