Repairing the damage Columbia’s Teachers College did to American kids will take years

The article, written by Robert Pondiscio and published on Sep. 21, 2023, discusses Columbia University’s decision to dissolve the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, distancing from its creator, Lucy Calkins. This decision follows New York City’s Department of Education’s move to mandate one of three approved reading programs, excluding Calkins’ model which, despite its long tenure, didn’t significantly improve reading abilities, particularly among black and Hispanic students. Pondiscio criticizes Calkins’ approach, which he sees as ineffective compared to phonics-based methods. He mentions the reading comprehension challenges students face, requiring a rich vocabulary and broad knowledge, which he argues weren’t addressed by Calkins’ methods. While he acknowledges the positive step towards phonics, Pondiscio suggests that rectifying the situation will take substantial time and effort, urging for patience and political resolve to ensure effective reading instruction in the long run.

Abbe Pedersen

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