June 1, 2007

Be Skeptical!

From Stephen Krashen:

Sent to Newsday, May 30

Secretary Spellings, as usual, claimed that No Child
Left Behind (NCLB) is "getting results." ("With
lawsuit looming, Spellings discusses No Child Left
Behind," May 29)

But there is no evidence this is so.

Spellings has claimed that reading tests scores were
up, thanks to NCLB, but a close look showed that the
gains occurred before NCLB went into effect.

Then she claimed that there was an increase in reading
test scores between 2004 to 2006 for children in
Reading First, a central component of NCLB. But a
close look showed that the gains were significantly
smaller than claimed, and some states did poorly,
despite an extra 100 minutes of instruction per week,
about an extra semester over two years. Also the
Department of Education violated a fundamental
scientific principle: There was no comparison group.
Even the modest increase could have been due to
factors other than Reading First.

We should have learned by now to be skeptical of
everything this administration says.

Stephen Krashen

For details: Krashen, S. "Reading First: 'Impressive
Gains?' "
Krashen, S "Did Reading First work?"