Pointing to widespread illiteracy and the “achievement gap” between ethnic groups, the Fairfax County, Virginia, chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) blasted education officials for being “disingenuous or uniformed” while urging them to restore real phonics instruction in government schools.
In a powerful letter sent to Fairfax County Public School Superintendent Scott Brabrand, the local NAACP branch argued that all children have a right to learn how to read — and that the government schools are failing them despite the clear research. Without reading and literacy, there can be no justice or freedom, the advocacy group said.
The letter addressed to the state’s largest school district boss quotes prominent black leader Frederick Douglass on the importance of reading. “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free,” he explained. And maybe that is the point, though the NAACP does not openly consider ulterior motives.
“This disparity in learning begins the moment children enter school and are not taught effectively to read,” reads the letter. “Sadly, the methodology currently used in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) to teach reading has failed over many decades.”
Duh! Apparently, though, there is a solution to 40 years of quackery creating mass illiteracy: A strongly worded letter with some demands.
“The Fairfax County NAACP demands that FCPS switch to an evidence-based structured literacy methodology,” the group continued. “This must be implemented with fidelity, division wide, in the general education classroom starting in Kindergarten and continuing through 3rd grade.”
“We have waited long enough, and we refuse to wait even one more day,” the group said, blasting the quack methods used to supposedly teach reading that have failed so many millions of innocent children now condemned to a life of illiteracy and oftentimes prison.
Pointing to numerous studies on the teaching of reading and even data linking illiteracy to crime, the NAACP said that “all the research” shows switching to proper teaching of phonics would have the most significant effect on closing the achievement gap.
And so, the group was very specific in outlining what it hopes will be introduced in government schools. It also made clear that simply sprinkling a bit of phonics on the quackery would not suffice.
“Adding a bit of phonics to a balanced literacy lesson is not enough,” the group said. “The literacy instruction in FCPS must be grounded in the five pillars of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension, and should be taught with fidelity in a systematic way that is both explicit and cumulative in nature.”
That would be helpful, though it’s very unlikely to happen.
The letter also pointed the finger at education officials for the crisis. “To disregard the cognitive science of reading, while proclaiming year after year a dedication to closing the achievement gap, is either disingenuous or uninformed,” it reads. “It is also a violation of a child’s civil and human rights.”
A veteran educator and expert in the teaching of reading told The Newman Report that the Fairfax NAACP “is right on the money” with its demands for phonics. Indeed, research and statistics compiled by Charles Richardson from Rhode Island revealed that students of African heritage suffered even more from “Whole Language” quackery than students of European heritage.
“The schools rejected phonics in favor of Whole Language and Balanced Literacy and the Black Achievement Gap is a direct (and inevitable) result,” said the longtime teacher, who asked to remain anonymous to protect his ongoing efforts to influence government schools to teach reading properly and protect children from quackery.
Unfortunately, the expert educator added, there are “few if any” high-quality commercial phonics-based reading programs. In fact, even many of the programs advertised as systematic, intensive phonics are not what they promise — something this writer confirmed years ago when ordering “phonics” programs years ago.
The NAACP letter misses a critical component that makes the massive illiteracy caused by public schools even more diabolical: As the late Dr. Sam Blumenfeld and this writer prove in the book Crimes of the Educators, it was all deliberate. Yes, the dumbing down of America was on purpose with malice aforethought.
It should be obvious that a school that cannot do the most basic educational task it is being paid to do — teach reading — is not a suitable institution for doing the more advanced work of real education. The advocacy organization would better serve its members by urging them to abandon the government’s indoctrination centers once and for all.