Talk:Mystery:Why is Phonics Taught in the UK but not the US?
Illiterate democrat votes
Can I see the source that states that the Dems rely heavily on illiterate votes?
Even Fox News will tell you that Obama gets most of his support from the well-educated and younger, upwardly mobile, voters. AdenJ 01:11, 11 May 2008 (EDT)
- AdenJ, you're simply wrong when you claim that Obama "gets most of his support from the well-educated ... voters." Overall, Dems rely on illiterate voters more than Republicans do.--Aschlafly 20:51, 11 May 2008 (EDT)
Aschlafly - I'll direct your attention to this, from Fox News... "Obama, who consistently leads Clinton among highly educated and wealthy voters, has tried to make up ground with middle-class America, where Clinton is strong. He has managed to score several wins in rural states like Idaho, Kansas and North Dakota." There is plently more evidence of this. Can you show it is wrong? AdenJ 05:32, 12 May 2008 (EDT)
- Murray, your cite is meaningless and you seem to be playing the "you haven't proven it yet" game again. Pull up some meaningful illiteracy data and we can both take a look, and I doubt either of us will be surprised by its implications for party support. A scan of the internet reveals independent observations that illiterate voters tend to vote Democratic. Indeed, no one seems to seriously doubt it.--Aschlafly 23:22, 12 May 2008 (EDT)
Hi Andy. Why is my cite meaningless? It shows that cities with higher literacy ratings were more likely to vote Democratic in 2004. I've never heard of the "you haven't proven it yet game" but yes, I do dislike when people claim a fact for ideological reasons and fail to support it, particularly when they do it publicly. In other words, if the original claim had been backed up by anything at all, then no problem. Murray 19:46, 13 May 2008 (EDT)
- Your cite refers to entire cities, having many confounding variables. Look, it's well known that party affiliation is roughly correlated to income levels, particularly at the lower levels. Literacy presumably has the same correlation. Let's look at some demographic info about literacy and draw the obvious conclusions.--Aschlafly 21:03, 13 May 2008 (EDT)
- So you're (again) suggesting that "a scan of the internet reveals independent observations that....no one seems to seriously doubt it". You're really, seriously, considering that this statement reflects adequate research for your theory? You're a lawyer, I believe? I'm just asking, because, you know, you can find web pages on "the internet" that claim that George Bush and Dick Cheney planned the attack on the WTC on 9/11. It's not a reliable source, "the internet". What would a judge think if you showed up in court and presented your case that "the defendant is guilty because a bunch of people on the internet said so"? Is that acceptable evidence? What are your sources for your theory? GaryK 14:32, 13 May 2008 (EDT)
- Does http://www.ccsu.edu/AMLC06/Political_Literacy.htm work for meaningful data? You can also examine the methodology of the study (something very useful in making any claim). On the other hand, you are making the claim above and as I understand it, "the burden is on the person who makes the claim that something happened to support." --Rutm 13:59, 13 May 2008 (EDT)
- Out of the Shadows, Overcoming IlliteracyABC News (26 Feb 2008): "In nearby Grand Rapids, a city of 184,000, one out of every five residents has difficulty reading or cannot read at all." The interesting thing about that very significant illiteracy rate is that despite being surrounded by traditional conservative strongholds, the city itself is surprisingly Democratic: "the city tends to elect Democrats. Both of its representatives in the Michigan State House of Representatives are Democrats, and in the past two presidential elections Democratic candidates Al Gore and John Kerry won the majority of votes in the city of Grand Rapids."  Okay, so that's just one example, hardly enough to convince the skeptics, but I'm sure there are many more. 10px Fox (talk|contribs) 14:21, 13 May 2008 (EDT)
- This is great Fox. Thanks for at least providing some sources. So we have two sources that both look pretty good, one says one thing and the other says the opposite. So we indeed have something worth researching. But let's at least try and let Fox and others lead the research, rather than ASchlafly - at least Fox has the dignity to provide some backup for the theory. GaryK 14:36, 13 May 2008 (EDT)
"The Labour Party is not struggling and does not fear losing power". Do you have any idea about UK politics? Did you see the recent election results where Labour came in third? Have you read any UK newspapers or watched any UK news reports? All of them would contradict the notion that the Labour Party is not struggling. Henry8th 08:14, 11 May 2008 (EDT)
- That's a very recent development. This entry takes a longer frame of reference. The Labour Party has (predictably) held commanding power in the U.K. ever since sweeping gun control was imposed there in the mid-1990s.--Aschlafly 09:30, 11 May 2008 (EDT)
Most school systems in the U.S. do teach phonics - I was taught phonics in Texas, where the school districts are allowed to choose curriculum on an independent basis. Other school districts in the same state did not. The only state I've heard of that unilaterally does not teach phonics is South Carolina, though there may be others. SBaynham 09:22, 11 May 2008 (EDT)
- Most public schools in the U.S. do not teach phonics, and I'm skeptical whether you learned from real phonics. Often a "look and say" approach will be labeled phonics by schools to stop parental complaints.--Aschlafly 09:31, 11 May 2008 (EDT)
- Look and say, teaching the "shape" of words, is the only other commonly-applied theory in the United States, so I am quite aware of the difference, and I was taught phonics. As I said, I have a friend in South Carolina who attended a school that taught the word shape method. Your understanding of this issue is quite contrary to reality: her teachers conspired to teach phonics against administration demands (which stemmed from parent demands), and a teacher was fired when they were found out. I haven't asked extensively about who was taught what, but it was always my understanding that South Carolina's aversion to phonics was closely related to their 49th in the nation status in education. SBaynham 22:25, 12 May 2008 (EDT)
- It is perhaps worth noting that there are many attempts to introduce the elements of synthetic phonics into whole language/psycholinguistics teaching - but they are so very different in their application that these are just as harmful to a child's progress as having no synthetic phonics teaching at all. Similarly, if a teacher uses a synthetic phonics approach, but her classroom library has books only written for a psycholinguistics approach, the children are being deprived of the phonically-written/aware books that they need for this method to be successful. Like any other method, poorly-taught phonics will lead to poor learning outcomes. But I'm digressing. The point here is that synthetic phonics has not been mandated at a federal level and although it is supposed to be taught as part of the Reading First initiative, it still isn't - for most schools - the main method: psycholinguistics is. I admit I'm not up to date on current US legislation, but I do know that back in 1999 a Sense of the Congress Resolution, introduced by Congressman David McIntosh of Indiana, "Expressing the Sense of Congress that direct systematic phonics instruction should be used in all schools," received 224 in favor and 193 opposed, but because a two thirds majority vote was required for passage of bills brought up under suspension, the resolution was not agreed to. From what I can gather, California, Texas, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Florida, Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts and Ohio now have State legislation requiring "direct phonics instruction as a first step in teaching children to read," but in practice implementation of synthetic phonics is actually being strenuously resisted by the "educators", who are actually simply repackaging psycholinguistics under a different name, eg California's "Reading Recovery" scheme, which has begun to spread to many other states. 10px Fox (talk|contribs) 05:46, 13 May 2008 (EDT)
- This is interesting, but as I mentioned before, I was taught in one of the states with a state mandate, and it worked quite well. In my experience, teachers have been all too eager to apply phonics. My experience may not be completely endemic, but unless my experience differs with the vast majority of public-school-educated children in this country, I do think that it is enough to state with some degree of certainty that phonics is alive and well, and any combat between phonics and alternate methods is simply an academic debate between two alternate schools of thought. It is not a microcosm for liberal versus conservative, or any guerrilla war being fought by the teacher's union. SBaynham 07:12, 13 May 2008 (EDT)
Here is a link to the Education Resources Information Center page about the teachers' text book, Reading Process and Practice, From Socio-Psycholinguistics to Whole Language by Constance Weaver. It looks fairly innocuous, doesn't it? Weaver, as you can see, is an advocate of "look-say" over phonics. ERIC, it should be borne in mind, is the organization used by "education researchers, teachers, librarians, administrators, education policymakers, instructors and students in teacher-preparation programs". What that page doesn't tell you is what Weaver has to say about phonics. Those researchers, teachers policymakers, etc are all informed - in the textbook! - that phonics is nothing short of a "far right plot... to promote a religious agenda" and inculcate "docility and obedience on the part of the lower classes." When cuckoos like that are allowed to write the textbooks, and "policymakers" read them too, it should come as no surprise that American children are being denied the head start in literacy that phonics provides. 10px Fox (talk|contribs) 07:10, 12 May 2008 (EDT)
- Ah, there's the answer: liberals claim that phonics is a "far right plot" and thereby block it in the U.S.--Aschlafly 08:58, 12 May 2008 (EDT)
- One of the external links from the Phonics page is to an interesting article which states: "In many [British] teachers minds, phonics equals right-wing, traditional, drill and skill, boring, anti-child-centred Gradgrind education. Over in the United States, phonics is portrayed as being closely aligned to the Christian fundamentalist right. The No child left behind act mandated phonics. Hell, Dubya loves phonics, so it follows that all right-minded progressive folks need to be against them." 10px Fox (talk|contribs) 10:20, 12 May 2008 (EDT)
Follow the money
Robert W. Sweet, Jr., the President of the (US based) National Right to Read Foundation pointed out back in the late 90s that psycholinguistics teaching is big business, and has been since the 1930's when the basal reading series for elementary schools were introduced. Every year the publishing companies compete for the adoption of reading programs in states like California and Texas where millions of dollars of expendable "look-say" workbooks are purchased every year. Dick and Jane, Alice and Jerry, Janet and Mark, Danny and Sue, Tom and Betty are cash cows just like Barbie and Ken. Quoting Sweet: "The 1986 National Advisory Council on Adult Education report, "Illiteracy in America" cites several examples of how the cost of reading instruction can be reduced, while at the same time improving reading scores:
"In her book, "Programmed Illiteracy in Our Schools," [Mary Johnson] says that: 'The workbooks to a sight method ['look and say'] basal series soon become superfluous whenever phonics is taught by a direct method... the annual expenditure on workbooks was more than four times greater than that on hardcover readers [used in a phonics-first program]. (The look-say workbooks have to be replaced each year because the children write in them.)'"
The Superintendent of Schools in Seekonk, Massachusetts hired a private-sector organization to train his primary-grade teachers in intensive systematic phonics. The cost of reading materials to implement the new program was eighty-eight percent less per pupil than the "look and say" or "whole language" reading program previously used in the district.
"Mr. H. Marc Mason, Principal of Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Mesa, Arizona, said that in 1978 his school spent $23.42 per student on reading materials. In the same year, his teachers were trained [to teach phonics]. By 1981, expenditures for reading materials had dropped to $8.50 per student, [while at the same time] achievement scores . . . surpassed the national, state, and district norms in language as well as in math."