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  • Exclusive Interview with Gov. Rick Perry

    President Obama and his administration have mostly escaped criticism during the week-long Education Nation series on NBC. But outside the friendly confines of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, there’s a different view of the Obama administration’s desire to centralize control in Washington, D.C.

    While an alarming number of states have signed on to Obama’s education agenda — which seeks to consolidate power with federal bureaucrats — some leaders are willing to take a stand. Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) is one of them. He has led the opposition to national education standards. He makes a powerful and principled case for protecting local control and preserving federalism. Perry spoke exclusively to Heritage about the issue.

    The administration has used its Race to the Top grant program to quietly convince 34 states to support national standards. Congress had no say in the matter. In fact, the standards were developed by the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers.

    “The fact is,” Perry said, “that Washington’s Race to the Top, with their national standards, and their national testing — yet to be worked out, of course — we think would be devastating to the young people in the state of Texas.”

    Equally troubling for Perry is the process by which the Obama administration has persuaded states to support its education agenda. By dangling money before cash-starved states, many governors jumped at the chance to compete for Race to the Top grants. Perry wasn’t enticed. “Why would we trade our ability to educate our children for some faceless bureaucrat in Washington, D.C., for, frankly, a small amount of money in the grand scheme of things?”

    Perry might be the most vocal, but he’s not alone. After the first round of Race to the Top concluded, nine states had reconsidered and, for a variety of reasons, chose not to participate in the second round of competition. States with high standards — notably Massachusetts and Virginia — have expressed concern about moving backward. Still, it’s an uphill battle.

    Perry recognizes the challenge, but remains hopeful that a new crop of governors might next year reconsider ceding so much control to the federal government.

    Posted in Education, Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to Exclusive Interview with Gov. Rick Perry

    1. Pingback: Gov. Rick Perry Leads Opposition to National Standards and says Don’t Mess With Texas

    2. Pragmatic in Texas says:

      Good for you, Governor! Stay strong in your convictions.

      I was born and raised in California, and was a "victim" of the California Public School system. The number one reason why I and my family moved to Texas is so our children could have a good, solid public education. Texas has always rated consistently high in the nation for their schools. And they did not disappoint. My children received a very well rounded education, a lot better than mine was.

      Nationalizing education is a BAD idea. Look at California today. Thanks to Teachers Unions and government interference, the system is about in total collapse. Add 49 more states, and we will have succeeded in the "dumbing down" of the U.S.

    3. MOMwithAbrain says:

      I'm amazed that so many people let their Governors off the hook. The Governors now looking to nationalize education, are some of the same ones who set low standards for the students in their state.

      Congrats to Gov. Perry on doing the hard work HE'S required to do and not shifting that power upwards.

      The rest of the Governors are eroding local control because they do not have the will to do what is required of them.

    4. Cindy, NC says:

      I'm so thankful my grandkids live in Texas. There's some pretty good leadership out there. North Carolina is getting to be a joke, a beggar state. I go to Texas and they're growing, building, things are happening…commerce, activity. Come back to N.C. and you see stores are boarded up, government corruption, inefficiency, high taxes and getting higher. Gov. Perdue, get a clue.

    5. Pingback: Education Debate | Jobs in Austin Texas

    6. Bob Rose, Jasper, Ge says:

      The key to successful education reform is the setting of measurable fluency standards for writing the alphabet (in K-1), reading (K-1), and simple addition facts (2nd grade). This means getting rid of PROGRESSIVE EDUCATION.

      Here follows a newspaper article about a ´school in Illinois that set writing standards for the early grades, and also an article I wrote for EducationNews.org on the internet.

      Best,

      Bob Rose

      Jasper, GA (Formerly of Sayville, Suffolk Co, NY)

      ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
      http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=406590

      Article by Burt Constable, Naperville, Ill Daily Herald columnist which appeared on Sept 7, 2010

      Handwriting on the wall for cursive? Teachers say, 'No'

      By Burt Constable | Daily Herald ColumnistContact writer

      In this age of texting, All Saints Academy teacher Chris Corbett says children at the Naperville school benefit from learning how to write by hand.

      It was harsh news to lay on an 8-year-old.

      At the desk next to mine, Lynne Garing's cursive-writing exercise boasted an unbroken, uniform series of loops that looked like a Slinky. My lopsided loops looked like a Slinky that had been involved in an ownership dispute between badgers.

      "You'll never get a job," my second-grade teacher Mrs. Hennefant informed me as she dropped a D onto my report card, "because no one can read your cursive handwriting."

      That I now have a job writing doesn't ruin her point. My handwriting is awful — so bad I don't dare let one of my notebooks sit for a day or I won't be able to read what I wrote. There are times when my grocery list says tomatoes, and I come home with potatoes.

      My wife has artistically bad handwriting, like Pablo Picasso, where everything she writes looks like an earthquake measurement on a Richter scale _ a series of small humps with an occasional eruption of a flourished T (although maybe it's a loop on her capital H). My bad handwriting looks exactly as it did when Mrs. Hennefant used it as a predictor of future failure.

      But if Smith Corona and its erasable typewriter ribbon rescued me from cursive abyss, how important can legible loops be to a generation of text-happy kids who literally are all thumbs when it comes to the written word?

      "I would say they don't think it's important," concedes Chris Corbett, a first-grade teacher at All Saints Academy in Naperville. "I don't know how many people actually write in cursive anymore because everything is typed. You don't even have to write a check anymore."

      But writing by hand is important for many reasons, says Corbett, whose class is part of a national study on handwriting.

      "There is a connection between handwriting instruction and all the other language skills," says Rand Nelson, CEO of Peterson Directed Handwriting, which has been teaching cursive handwriting skills since 1908.

      When Nelson, who has been with the company since 1976, talks about cursive-handwriting elements such as loop tops, roll tops, undercurves or rocks, he speaks with the knowledge and love of a father discussing his children.

      The fluency, motor skills, spatial relationships, muscle memory and dynamic patterns that occur when a kid moves a pencil across a paper stimulate parts of the brain that aren't used in typing or texting, Nelson says. A student who masters cursive can concentrate on the word choices during an essay, and not on the physical act of writing.

      "Yet, the vast majority of teachers have received no training on how to teach motor skills," Nelson says. "They stuck it in the closet 30 years ago."

      A recent "resurgence" in handwriting instruction has been fueled by private schools and home-schoolers, Nelson says.

      While her first-graders know the QWERTY keyboard and can log onto their computers without looking at the keyboard, Corbett makes the children print letters by hand three times a week. She asks the boys and girls to write as many legible letters as they can in 20 seconds.

      "At the end of last year, many of the kids could do the whole alphabet and then some," says Corbett, 63, who credits the nuns of her grade-school years for teaching her the value of handwritten cards and letters. Even if a computer program lets you type letters in a fancy script font, that's not the same as a handwritten letter.

      "If I write a letter, everybody knows it's my handwriting before they even open the envelope. It's very recognizable," Corbett says.

      "We still make writing a major part of their development," says All Saints third-grade teacher Donna Gudanick, who adds that her students even get excited about writing in cursive. "It's a necessary tool I don't think we'll ever give up."

      That philosophy comes from the top.

      "While I know people feel this is archaic, I think this is an important fine motor skill that children still need," says principal Sandy Renehan.

      With texting, e-vites, iPads and even online grocery lists usurping realms where handwriting once ruled, it's easy to imagine a world where handwriting becomes the sole domain of bank robbers' hasty holdup notes.

      "I wouldn't want to see in 20 years what's left," Corbett says mournfully. But she is doing her part to keep handwriting alive.

      "Maybe we won't have to write anything anymore," Corbett says, "but these kids will know how to do it.")

      ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

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      Home | EdReports | MAKING EDUCATION HISTORY ON THE INTERNET

      Add to: del.icio.us Digg

      MAKING EDUCATION HISTORY ON THE INTERNET

      12/05/2010 00:27:00 EducationNews.org

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      Maria Montessori

      5.12.10 – Bob Rose, MD – I started a yahoogroups listserv and recruiting a number of "whole language" teachers to help test Maria Montessori's 1912 postulate that making young children "expert" at writing the alphabet would make them "spontaneous" readers

      MAKING EDUCATION HISTORY ON THE INTERNET

      During the school year of 2002-2003 I started a yahoogroups listserv and recruiting a number of "whole language" teachers to help test Maria Montessori's 1912 postulate that making young children "expert" at writing the alphabet would make them "spontaneous" readers.

      To my delight, there turned out to be a very strong correlation between how many letters of the alphabet first-graders could write in a timed, 20-second period of time and how good their reading skills were. To my delight, there was a very strong correlation. However, the Whole Language Teachers did not believe in "setting specific achievement goals", and I was asked to unsubscribe from the list.

      During the following school year (2003-2004) I created my own yahoogroups listserv and recruited another group of five kindergarten teachers willing to submit correlation data between alphabet-letter writing fluency and reading skills. Children were identified by ID numbers, rather than by names, to keep the study ethical.

      There had been 94 students in the Whole Language "control" group, and I got a total of 106 student correlations from the five "experimental" kindergarten teachers, all of whom had also gotten very strong correlations between writing fluency and reading skill.

      I immediately emailed the editorial offices of over a dozen well-known education journals, asking if they would be interested in me submitting a write-up of our study for possible publication. I got only two responses: one said, "That couldn't possibly be true", but the editor of the Harvard Educational Review enthusiastically invited my submission. I wrote up our study and had it sent in three days later. (In March, 2004). A few months later I received a standard letter of rejection from them.

      Since then I have emailed copies of "my manuscript" to HUNDREDS of educational psychologists, journalists, education professors, politicians and school superintendents. Though I received a few informal polite replies, no one seemed to take my idea seriously.

      During the second half of the 2008-2009 school year I recruited a number of different kindergarten and first-grade teachers to my listserv. All who participated again saw positive correlations, but it was decided to wait until this present (2009-2010) school year to repeat the study and see if we could get enough data to publish a meaningful meta-analysis onto the internet.

      So far (5/5/10) we have data from three first-grade teachers at a Catholic private school in an upper middle-class Midwestern city. The data from these three teachers involve a total of 60 first-graders. Not only is there a correlation between alphabet-writing fluency and literacy, BUT EVERY ONE OF THESE CHILDREN IS NOW ABLE TO READ. (We got baseline data last year from a first-grade in one of the most affluent and academically successful elementary schools in the state of Pennsylvania. NOT ALL of their first graders were readers, though there was indeed a correlation between writing fluency and reading skill).

      At this Catholic school teacher # 1 wrote she had the children practice writing the alphabet three days a week. (We had recommended five minutes each school day). Her class's writing fluency rates ranged between 63 and 123 letters-per-minute (LPM), and her median student wrote at a rate of 72 LPM. Teacher # 2's median rate was 75 LPM, and the median rate for teacher # 3 was 84 LPM.

      A kindergarten teacher in our study wishes to be identified as "Mary Jane from rural South Carolina". She tells us that 93% of the children in her school receive subsidized lunches, and as of early May, 2010, only two of the children in her kindergarten are not yet readers. The principal of a highly successful elementary school in Atlanta had once told me on the telephone that children should learn to read in kindergarten, not in the first-grade.

      Some years ago the retired archivist of the Calvert School (a private elementary school in Baltimore, Maryland), sent me a copy of a privately published booklet published in 1996, the centennial of the founding of the school. The original headmaster, G. Vernon Hillyer, wrote that, "If you teach children to write, you needn't bother teaching them to read". In his first-grade (the school had no kindergarten), children simply learned to write the sentence, "I see a tree". Thereafter they learned to write, "The tree is green". After about three months, all the children were literate, and then began to study a formal curriculum and to write meaningful essays. Twenty years later, he wrote that the school had never failed to teach a normal child to read and write.

      In traditional Russia, children were taught literacy at home, before they began school. In Russian, as in English, various letters are pronounced differently in normal colloquial speech than they are written. As a matter of fact, there is not word for "to spell" in Russian. Instead, if one wishes to ask how a word is written, one just asks, "How is that written by syllables". For example, the word "govorit" (he speaks) is colloquially pronounced "guvareet". When asked how it is written, one answers: "Goh-Voh-REET".

      In other words, one basically doesn't learn to read in Russian, one learns simply to write. And anyone can read anything anyone can successfully write! (I studied Russian for three years in college, and this way of learning to write in Russia is confirmed by several people educated in Russia whom I have known in the past.

      We appreciate this May 1st, 20101data from Ardis, which we'll consider "end-of-the-year" data, even though a nice lady at the Michigan Board of Education just told me on the telephone that the children in Macomb Count, Michigan, adjacent to Detroit, will actually probably be attending school into sometime in June.

      In the past Ardis, a kindergarten teacher, has told us her school has a high number of the children of immigrants in her class. I'm waiting to hear by direct email from Ardis whether she wants any particular restrictions placed on her identify and location, and/or can she give us any more graphics about her class.

      Ardis included two interesting remarks in her report. One is "I have to admit I haven't kept up with the fluency training during this second semester as much as I did last year." The other important comment is "Every single person [i.e., kindergartner} is a reader - there are no struggling or non-readers this year".

      At any rate, Ardis' data of May first indicate there were 26 kids in her kindergarten. One has moved away, and of the remaining:

      Four students wrote the alphabet more rapidly than 40 LPM. There reading levels were, respectively, high, average, high and high.

      Eight students wrote at between 30 and 39 LPM. In descending LPM order, their reading levels were high, high, high, high, very high (3rd grade level), low average, low average and average.

      Eleven students scored between 21 and 27 LPM. Again, in decreasing order of LPM, their reading levels were: medium, high, high, low average, low average, medium, average, low average, high, very very high [3rd grade level; autistic], (this student's LPM was 21) and average.

      Two students scored only 18 LPM. Their reading levels were high and low average.

      Nancy, an Ed.D kindergarten teacher, also from Macomb county (part of metropolitan Detroit), just provided us with the following data:

      Two of our 26 students scored better than 40 LPM and both rated as "above grade level" in reading skill.

      Two students scored 39 LPM, and that are also "above grade level".

      Five students scored between 30 and 36 LPM. In decreasing order of LPM rates, they were rated

      "above grade level", "below grade level", "above grade level", "above grade level" and "at grade level" respectively.

      Eight students wrote at between 21 and 27 LPM. Each of these eight were rated as "at grade level", in my opinion of their reading ability.

      Five students wrote at 15 LPM. Of these, one was "at grade level" and the other four were "below grade level".

      In the fall of 2009 the average LPM rate in my class was 7 LPM. At present it is 28 LPM.

      Historically, many authorities on the subject of literacy instruction have stressed the importance of adequate practice in printing alphabet letters. The first-century Roman writer and rhetorician, Marcus Fabius Quintilianus (ca A.D. 35-98?) wrote that with regard to becoming literate, “Too slow a hand impedes the mind".

      In 1912, Maria Montessori wrote, in effect, that teaching young children to print letters is easy, that it is easy to teach children to read after they have practiced printing alphabet letters, but that it is difficult to teach children to read if they have not practiced writing them.

      Marilyn Jager Adams noted that prior to the onset of the twentieth century the “spelling drill” was the principal means of inducing literacy for several millennia.

      I believe that the cumulative suggestion of our repeated on-line meta-analyses supports the idea that making children fluent at writing the alphabet during the first two years of school will be an important advance in the teaching of literacy throughout the world. We hope this summary will be relayed to K-1 teachers everywhere via the internet.

      I think the importance of our findings is not in the strength of this on-line research. To be scientifically valid, studies must not only be reproducible, but reproducible by different experimenters.

      The most outstanding result of our research is having learned that no one, in spite of vast sums being spent on "literacy research", has ever done and published a study to see if Maria Montessori's postulate holds true for Anglophone children, or whether it does not!

      Bob Rose, MD (retired)

      Jasper, Georgia

      email: rovarose@aol.com

      Add to: del.icio.us | Digg

      Comments (1 posted):

      Patrick Groff on 14/05/2010 07:52:10

      Dear Dr. Rose:

      I was pleased to see your revelation of the fact that most young children in the U.S. are denied an effective manner in which to develop their reading abilities. This practice is so notorious that I call it a form of academic child abuse.

      Your comments also lead me to the conclusion that the public needs to be informed that professors of reading education are the major cause of the failure of American children to read commpetently. I hope in the future that you will add that truism to your other pertinent remarks.

      Patrick Groff, Professor of Education Emeritus, San Diego State University.

      ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
      http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=406590

      Article by Burt Constable, Naperville, Ill Daily Herald columnist which appeared on Sept 7, 2010

      Handwriting on the wall for cursive? Teachers say, 'No'

      By Burt Constable | Daily Herald ColumnistContact writer

      In this age of texting, All Saints Academy teacher Chris Corbett says children at the Naperville school benefit from learning how to write by hand.

      It was harsh news to lay on an 8-year-old.

      At the desk next to mine, Lynne Garing's cursive-writing exercise boasted an unbroken, uniform series of loops that looked like a Slinky. My lopsided loops looked like a Slinky that had been involved in an ownership dispute between badgers.

      "You'll never get a job," my second-grade teacher Mrs. Hennefant informed me as she dropped a D onto my report card, "because no one can read your cursive handwriting."

      That I now have a job writing doesn't ruin her point. My handwriting is awful — so bad I don't dare let one of my notebooks sit for a day or I won't be able to read what I wrote. There are times when my grocery list says tomatoes, and I come home with potatoes.

      My wife has artistically bad handwriting, like Pablo Picasso, where everything she writes looks like an earthquake measurement on a Richter scale _ a series of small humps with an occasional eruption of a flourished T (although maybe it's a loop on her capital H). My bad handwriting looks exactly as it did when Mrs. Hennefant used it as a predictor of future failure.

      But if Smith Corona and its erasable typewriter ribbon rescued me from cursive abyss, how important can legible loops be to a generation of text-happy kids who literally are all thumbs when it comes to the written word?

      "I would say they don't think it's important," concedes Chris Corbett, a first-grade teacher at All Saints Academy in Naperville. "I don't know how many people actually write in cursive anymore because everything is typed. You don't even have to write a check anymore."

      But writing by hand is important for many reasons, says Corbett, whose class is part of a national study on handwriting.

      "There is a connection between handwriting instruction and all the other language skills," says Rand Nelson, CEO of Peterson Directed Handwriting, which has been teaching cursive handwriting skills since 1908.

      When Nelson, who has been with the company since 1976, talks about cursive-handwriting elements such as loop tops, roll tops, undercurves or rocks, he speaks with the knowledge and love of a father discussing his children.

      The fluency, motor skills, spatial relationships, muscle memory and dynamic patterns that occur when a kid moves a pencil across a paper stimulate parts of the brain that aren't used in typing or texting, Nelson says. A student who masters cursive can concentrate on the word choices during an essay, and not on the physical act of writing.

      "Yet, the vast majority of teachers have received no training on how to teach motor skills," Nelson says. "They stuck it in the closet 30 years ago."

      A recent "resurgence" in handwriting instruction has been fueled by private schools and home-schoolers, Nelson says.

      While her first-graders know the QWERTY keyboard and can log onto their computers without looking at the keyboard, Corbett makes the children print letters by hand three times a week. She asks the boys and girls to write as many legible letters as they can in 20 seconds.

      "At the end of last year, many of the kids could do the whole alphabet and then some," says Corbett, 63, who credits the nuns of her grade-school years for teaching her the value of handwritten cards and letters. Even if a computer program lets you type letters in a fancy script font, that's not the same as a handwritten letter.

      "If I write a letter, everybody knows it's my handwriting before they even open the envelope. It's very recognizable," Corbett says.

      "We still make writing a major part of their development," says All Saints third-grade teacher Donna Gudanick, who adds that her students even get excited about writing in cursive. "It's a necessary tool I don't think we'll ever give up."

      That philosophy comes from the top.

      "While I know people feel this is archaic, I think this is an important fine motor skill that children still need," says principal Sandy Renehan.

      With texting, e-vites, iPads and even online grocery lists usurping realms where handwriting once ruled, it's easy to imagine a world where handwriting becomes the sole domain of bank robbers' hasty holdup notes.

      "I wouldn't want to see in 20 years what's left," Corbett says mournfully. But she is doing her part to keep handwriting alive.

      "Maybe we won't have to write anything anymore," Corbett says, "but these kids will know how to do it."

    7. Evangeline De Luna, says:

      I also congratulate Governor Perry, not only for his views on education, but for his re-election. On the subject of education, I say there's a lot more work to be done. I believe bilingual education should go NO FARTHER then elementary school. Children need to be immersed in the English language by the time they reach middle school. NO STUDENT should be allowed to progress to middle school and higher without a good grasp of the English language. The reason several of our schools have such poor pass rates on state achievement exams is because our public high schools accept so many students from across the border with poor English skills. These students find themselves having to take more English as a Second Language classes when they reach Community College level because their reading and writing skills are atrocious. I'm sure California and Arizona, and New Mexico, as well as Texas) have very similar problems.

      So, Heritage Foundation, these state legislators have a lot of work to do.

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