from Wikipedia, on the ‘Dick and Jane’ readers:
The main characters, Dick and Jane, were a little boy and girl. Supporting characters included Baby (or Sally), Mother, Father, Spot (originally a cat in the 1930s, but a dog in later editions), Puff the cat, and Tim the teddy bear. They first appeared in the Elson-Gray Readers used in the 1930s, which themselves were heavily revised and enlarged editions of the Elson Readers originally produced by William H. Elson in the 1920s. The books relied on the whole word or sight word reading method, (not to be confused with whole language) and repetition, using phrases like, “Oh, see. Oh, see Jane. Funny, funny Jane,” but they did not totally ignore phonics.[dubious – discuss] Phonetic analysis was part of each reading lesson, although not to the degree one would associate with learning to read by pure phonics. For this reason, they came to be used less and less as studies supported phonics as a more effective method of gaining literacy. Texts in the primary grades emphasized Learning to Read, but in fourth grade and above the focus was Reading to Learn, with content becoming very important.
Yep, that’s about right. Learn to read. Then about age 9 or ten begin to know and understand some things. Then about 11 or 12 begin to really take off and get excited about using things you learned. Whole great big world out there. Then in your teens finish it out with some useful tools and references, some concentration, and some interesting items outside your everyday frame of reference and the world was your oyster. Oh, for the good old days!
The Wiki reference goes on to talk about how the series was discontinued in the 70’s (about the time they discovered new and
confusing exciting ways of instructing children in Math. Since the parents of today, (and many of the grandparents who matriculated post-1970’s) can’t seem to get a handle on ‘Why Johnny Can’t Read or Balance His Checkbook’, what they need is a remedial education themselves, entitled “Connecting The Dots.”
What do normal people do when something seemingly stops working? Well, if they want to continue to use it, they examine it to see if it malfunctioned of it’s own accord or whether it was used improperly, or whether it’s use was discontinued for no apparent, or good, reason.
Yes, the 1970’s was a long time ago, but read and comprehend this: At the time they stopped using the Dick and Jane readers and concurrently introduced the New Math, the good old US of A was at the top of it’s game. We were the worl’ds pre-eminent superpower, in every conceivable category. We put men on the moon, for Pete’s sake! We were the world’s leaders in public education. All of our schools, public and private, and the culture they existed in, had by that time produced some of the greatest successes ever imagined in the areas of science, industry, medicine, sport, even the arts. We took care of our own at the same time as we were using our exceptionalism to benefit (not conquer, as the social democrats often claimed) the world.
As the classical liberals morphed into Progressives through the 80’s and 90’s, it is almost universally acknowledged that education in the United States, or more accurately the “results” of what passed as education, began to decline. And the calls for “reform” rang out across the land. And the Federal grants started flowing and the giant “education” industries blossomed and academic and political careers took off and ……learning continued to suffer.
So now we are in the New Millenium and we’ve gone through ‘No Child Left Behind’ and are in the grip of Testing! Testing! Testing!, and Start Early and Stay Late! and nothing is working. So the New Age PHD’s and the oligarchists like Bill Gates and the giant educational consortiums have foisted something called Common Core on the public schools, and somehow something that used to prevail in America, Common Sense, goes begging.
Could we just stop? Could we just stop for a moment? It’s not working. Helloooo? Anybody there? All these “reforms” are not working. Why do we continue to try to ‘reform’ things that we are told aren’t any good anymore instead of answering the primary questions above, which are: Did the old methods really stop working? Or did someone assert without proof that they no longer worked? Or did “educators” some four decades ago, in conspiratorial league with the Socialist Progressive power-seekers, just simply agree to trash everything that had previously worked as the people wanted it to work, while at the same time trashing a constitutional system of government that had also previously worked to secure the blessings of liberty?
This is not hard, folks. Pardon the play on the subject matter, but it is not rocket science. I learned to read, as many of my elderly bretheren did, with the old ‘Dick and Jane’ readers. And how to do mathematics with the old ways of adding and subtracting and multiplying and dividing. Not only did I not go to ‘preschool’, I didn’t even go to kindergarten! And although I achieved little else of note in my life, I did graduate from college. (No PhD. Blessing or curse, you decide.) I could, and can still, read. And, wonder of wonders!, I can operate a computer, use a cell phone, install Wi-Fi in my home and communicate with and get the latest news from THE ENTIRE WORLD. I may be old, but I am not a relic. Okay, that’s opinion.
Run, Spot, Run! See Bob read! And write! And balance a checkbook! And connect dots! And after having digested the basics, use a little bit of discernment to be able to tell when something quit working and when someone broke it. And by the way technology is neither the problem nor the solution. We don’t have to go back to the dark ages, just back to the basics. In governance as well as in education. See, they use electronic voting and other gadgetry in conducting the affairs of Congress. Nothing wrong with that. But they still operate under the basic precepts of the Constitution. They read it, they understand it and then they use it.
Oh….wait… they used to read, understand and use it………………………. See Bob text his congressman!
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