A recent Scottish study showed that students taught to read with phonics were three years ahead of their peers. Politicians are now mustering the political will to roll back the failed "progressive education" approach to reading. It helps that one of the prominent figures in the pro-phonics movement, Andrew (now Lord) Adonis, is currently Prime Minister Tony Blair's junior education minister.
Prince Charles has announced plans to setup his own teacher training institute to "fill the gap many in education believe has existed for too long." The prospect of school vouchers are now being debated here, as in the United States, because of dysfunctional public schools.
It has always been a peculiarity that human beings seem discontent with what works and feel compelled to change, or "improve," what for centuries produced desired results. The English, as well as Americans, managed to successfully instruct generations of children using proven principles. They also believed it was not enough to feed knowledge into someone's head, unless his or her heart and soul were also nourished.
Were parents surveyed and did those surveys reveal they did not want their children educated the way they and previous generations were taught? Who decided that the basic and classic knowledge taught to William Wordsworth and his classmates was not as good as that which is acquired in our modern age? Who concluded that the wisdom of the ages had expired like a "don't sell" label on perishable food?
The answer is that no one did. It was forced on English and American societies by tiny elites who thought they knew better than everyone else.
An excerpt from Wordsworth's "Lines Written in Early Spring" seems an appropriate response to this educational madness:
"And much it grieved my heart to think
What Man has made of Man."
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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