Neal Frey has firmly held views on what belongs in textbooks—and what does not. In his reviews, written criteria, and in conversation, the president of Educational Research Analysts offers positions on nearly every core academic subject.
Story content should present “a universe that rewards virtue and punishes vice,” Frey’s criteria state, as well as “behavioral role models” and “generally positive attitudes toward, and relations among, children, parents, and others.”
“Tax cuts promoted economic expansion,” Frey’s criteria say. “Deficits of the 1980s protected that expansion by restraining government growth. Political liberals were the most upset about those deficits.”
Frey disdains the “whole language” method of teaching pupils to read, which he regards as ineffective and reliant on memorization. he instead favors phonics, which asks children to make associations between sounds and letters. He sees phonics as more useful for all students.
Like many advocates of a back-to-basics approach, Frey believes students should receive a heavy dose of basic math and number skills before moving into problem-solving. He cautions against students’ overreliance on calculators.
While Frey says he believes the Earth was created as described in the Bible, he opposes efforts to mandate the teaching of so-called “alternatives” to evolution, such as intelligent design and creationism, believing they will be found unconstitutional. Instead, he prefers allowing discussions of any scientific “weaknesses” in evolution.
A version of this article appeared in the September 21, 2005 edition of Education Week