In this entry I want to explore my concerns.
Why is this working in Florida when it hasn't worked elsewhere? The most serious problem with these new studies, as carefully done as they are, is that they were unable to isolate the accountability part of the reforms from the rest of Florida's education policies.
Florida did more than just flunk kids: they did a great job of ensuring that classrooms across the state were beefing up their teaching of phonological awareness, phonics, and fluency, and they made sure there were ongoing interventions available to struggling readers. They provided substantial coaching and other professional development for their teachers, and supported extensive summer school and afterschool programs. Yes, these kids were given an extra year of teaching, and yet this extra year was more likely be worth having than what is usually provided to retained students.
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