Opinion
Curriculum Letter to the Editor

For Progress in Reading, PR Spin Is Not Helpful

August 09, 2005 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

Regarding your July 27, 2005, article “South Posts Big Gains on Long-Term NAEP in Reading and Math”:

I am concerned that the recent “good news” and government spin on the National Assessment of Educational Progress reading scores are highly misleading. Granted, scores are up in the Southeast, but note how low they were to begin with. In reading alone in 1971, 9-year-olds in these states scored an average of 194 on a 500-point scale, compared with average scores of 213, 215, and 205 earned by children in other parts of the country. An increased focus on accountability could easily be responsible for the gain.

If we examine the NAEP scores for ourselves, we can readily see another story that the government public relations machine is not telling: Reading gains over 30-plus years are far less impressive than those achieved in math. Here’s a comparison, by region, for 9-year-olds, for whom the greatest gains in reading can be found:

    Northeast: 10-point gain in reading, compared with an 18-point gain in math.

Southeast: 24-point gain in reading, compared with a 31-point gain in math.

Central: 6-point gain in reading, compared with a 16-point gain in math.

West: 10-point gain in reading, compared with a 28-point gain in math.

It is easy to conclude that math reforms have been more effective over the last 30 years, in spite of the fact that more money has been poured into reading reforms. Isn’t there a message in this?

Public relations spin is not healthy for our nation’s children. Accountability aside, creating a false sense that reading reforms are effective impedes the search for authentic solutions that will help students of all ages eliminate their reading problems.

Rhonda Stone

Executive Director

The Literacy Alliance

Shelton, Wash.

A version of this article appeared in the August 10, 2005 edition of Education Week as For Progress in Reading, PR Spin Is Not Helpful

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Academic Integrity in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
As AI writing tools rapidly evolve, learn how to set standards and expectations for your students on their use.
Content provided by Turnitin
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Chronic Teacher Shortage: Where Do We Go From Here?  
Join Peter DeWitt, Michael Fullan, and guests for expert insights into finding solutions for the teacher shortage.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
The Science of Reading: Tools to Build Reading Proficiency
The Science of Reading has taken education by storm. Learn how Dr. Miranda Blount transformed literacy instruction in her state.
Content provided by hand2mind

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Curriculum How Florida's New School Librarian Training Defines Off-Limits Materials
School librarians will soon have to seek parent approval to order new books, and have to avoid books considered "indoctrination."
3 min read
Books line shelves in a high school library Monday, October 1, 2018, in Brownsville, Texas. The Brownsville Independent School District announced having been awarded a multi-million-dollar grant to revitalize libraries to encourage reading by school-aged children to improve literacy skills. It was stated in the meeting that money could also be used to replace aging furniture in some of the district's libraries.
Books line shelves in a high school library in Brownsville, Texas in 2018. In Florida, school librarians will be required to complete training this year that will include how to seek parent approval before they can purchase new books for school libraries and classrooms.
Jason Hoekema/The Brownsville Herald via AP
Curriculum What the Research Says How an Attention-Training Program Can Make Teens Better Drivers
A driving simulation created to tune up attention skills in young drivers with ADD could have wider benefits.
6 min read
Driver Training Simulator
A student uses a driving trainer simulator to sharpen attention skills.
Cincinnati Children's Hospital
Curriculum Q&A You Can Teach About Climate Change in Every Subject and Grade Level. Here's How
Math, foreign language, even art classes offer opportunities to build students' knowledge.
8 min read
Tree growing from a book with education icons floating above, focusing on climate change and curriculum
Chinnapong/iStock/Getty
Curriculum Media Literacy in Schools: 7 Ways the Subject Has Evolved
A handy guide about media literacy to get up to speed on the topic.
3 min read
Photo of computer and newspapers.
iStock / Getty Images Plus