Date sent: Fri, 23 Jan 1998 02:17:12 -0500 From: "Melanie Fields P.M., LLSDL" Organization: Professional Mother, Life-long, Self-directed learner To: "Grimm, Karen NE" Subject: HR1385 related to HR2416, caution! controversial! Ann Herzer asked that this be posted. Notice the connection between HR1385 and HR2614. Typos mine.  Melanie


To the Loop:

Jan 8, 1998

Conservatives Curious Blind Spot

When it comes to so-called "phonics" vs other methods of teaching reading, the conservatives suffer from a curious psychological blind spot. Why would they not question a method that is now be supported by the left-wing teachers' unions? The NEA and AFT's national leadership is all of a sudden supporting intensified direct instruction in "phonics".  These programs are to be selected by federal agencies and their hand-picked experts who are competent in reading instruction. Really!

The federal agencies, NEA, AFT, and hand-picked panels of "experts" at the federal and state level have implemented programs and methods that have undermined and destroyed children's morals along with their allegiance to our country and their families. Why would conservatives trust them now?

Apparently conservatives have not seen the direct link between the Employment, Training and Literacy Enhancement Act of 1997 (H. R. 1385) and The Reading Excellence Act of 1997 (H. R. 2614).

According to "The Phyllis Schlafly Report", June 1997, H. R. 1385 passed the House with only 60 Republicans against it. This Act creates the National Institute for Literacy, and H. R. 2614 will place literacy programs under the direct umbrella of the National Institute for Literacy and other federal agencies and their hand-picked "experts". This group will control and select programs to be implemented in the local schools through partnerships with State governors and others. Schlafly stated that another purpose of H. R. 1385 is to "establish Local Workforce Development Boards composed of a 'majority' of businessmen plus token representatives of schools, colleges and community organizations", which will bypass local school boards and state legislatures.

She says that one purpose of the National Institute for Literacy is to "coordinate literacy services" under "an interagency agreement entered into y the Secretary of Education with the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of Health and Human Services.   H. R. 1385 would give the Secretary of Labor powers to coordinate services" which is part of the plan for _full employment_.  (emphasis mine)  Mrs. Schlafly warns (and rightly so) that such a plan can lead to a planned economy.

Both of these bills include parent and job training and intend "to make sustainable changes in a family". These changes were clearly outlined in the recent National Education Goals Report, Building a Nation of Learners 1997.  This report included a "Special Early Childhood Report"  which clearly outlines the plan for how parents will raise their children. No doubt,  children and parents will be tracked on the feds data computer system. They will be tested, evaluated, and retrained until they conform to the correct OBE outcomes.

Schlafly says that H. R. 1385 will "also hand out tax dollars to labor unions for "research and demonstration projects' ". Could this be why the large political teachers' unions are supporting intensified direct instruction of phonics? Will these programs be traditional phonics instruction or operant conditioning which has been condoned and supported by the union leadership for decades?

The President of AFT,  Sandra Feldman,  told the Washington Times that she supports E. d. Hirsch's Core Curriculum, direct instruction in phonics, plus Robert Slavin's Success for All reading program. Both Hirsch (his curriculum) and Slavin are part of The New American Schools Development Corporation's Design Teams. These designs were approved by both President Bush and Clinton to restructure American education. They are being implemented through some Charter Schools and implemented in schools that have been taken over by the State and Federal governments under the guise of "school improvement". Those school that fail to meet the federal Goals 2000 and School-to-Work are having their elected school boards replaced with government selected personnel as well.

The Core Curriculum is part of NASDC's Modern Red School House Design Team. This team was started under the direction of former Secretary of Education, William Bennett, Assistant Secretary Chester Finn, The Hudson Institute, The Morrison Institute (in Arizona connected with ASU) and others. Their team proposes to teach the Secretary of Labor's entry level work force skills (SCANS). Finn is also a member of the Edison Project-now chartered in Arizona and other states. They propose to run public schools for profit. Some of the Design Teams are so radical and alien to American education concepts that they appear to have been lifted out of the "dark pages of history".
When I was asked to do an objective evaluation of the Texas Alternative Document (TAD), I said the reading program appeared to be either DISTAR or ECRI-both operant conditioning programs. I criticized the highly-scripted-structured program and portions of the literature program. I also pointed out that supporters of TAD such as Robert Sweet, E. D. Hirsch and Chester Finn were connected with government agencies and the Design Teams. Sweet was hired by Rep. Goodling (Committe on Education and Work Force) where H. R. 2614 originated. I predicted that because such high profile individuals were supporting TAD that it might become the model for H. R. 2614. I hope I was wrong.

TAD reads like a blue print of Beginning Reading Thinking and Learning about Print, by Marilyn Jeger Adams. She apparently used the research from the Learning and Disibilities section of Health and Human Services 18 laboratories. Her research is so limited in scope that even two of her cowrokers from The Center for the Study of Reading, wrote an "Afterword." While they praised her writing skill in compiling "experimental" research, they were cautious in their endorsement of the total book.

It is interesting to note that Adams is noted as a Senior Scientist at Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc., and the "Principal Author and Curriculum Coordinator/Editor for the five-volume classroom instruction series Odyssey: A Curriculum for Thinking."  Bolt Beranek and Newman are listed as a partner in NASDC's Design Team "THE CO-NECT SCHOOL: A DESIGN FOR TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY SCHOOLS".  Bruce Goldbert, AFT is also mentioned as being on the Design Team along with others.

In a January 1998 publication of the National Education Association (NEA) they include an article titled "The Report You've Been Waiting For". They are touting a research study by the National Academy of Sciences which was commisssioned by the Department of Education and the National Institute of Health in 1995. (p5). In the same publication, NEA President, Bob Chase, supports NASDC's Success for All design teams reading method.

The National Academy of Sciences "expert panel" of 16 included one classroom teacher "and a leading experts on reading". After 50 years of denial, apparently this prestigioius group has determined "that phonics is an absolutely critical component of teaching children to read". What programs, and what kind of phonics wil be used? There is a distinct diference between operant conditioning phonics and traditional phonic instruction. I cannot think of any phonics programs that the "expert" have supported unless the operant conditioning component is attached.

Why is it necessary to intensify phonics instruction? Why is it necessary to teach from a prepared script as in Distar and ECRI? Why is it necessary to lock-step children through every small isolated portioon of phonics instruction? Why is it necessary to time children with a stop-watch? This all seems to part of the "new" intensifired direct instruction i.e. Skinnerian operant conditioning approach to teaching phonics.

Last, but not least, why have the conservatives failed to see the connection between the feds Employment, Training and Literacy Enhancement Act (H. R. 1385) that created a National Institute for Literacy that places The Reading Excellence Act, H. R. 2614 under its control?

The status of H. R. 2614 follows:

It was called up by the House of Representative under suspenion of the rules and then passed by voice vote Nov. 8, 1997. On Nov. 9, 1997, it was referrred to the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources (CR S12290).

Will you and your child be another "human resource" for the planned global economy? If you believe inthe work force agenda planned from the federal level, and if you think the federal government should control reading methods, then by all means call you U. S. Senators and support The Reading Excellence Act. If you are willing to put your trust in NEA, AFT, NASDC, and The National Institute for Literacy then support H. R. 2614 i.e. CR S12290 The Reading Excellence Act.


The Phyllis Schlafly Report, June 1997, pp. 1&2

The Washington Times, Teachers Favor Return to Basics, by Carol Innerst, June 18, 1997.

H. R. 2614 The Reading Excellence Act, 1997 U. S. Congress

National Education Association Today's Education, Jan. 1998

Beginning to Read Thinking and Learning about Print, Marilyn Jager Adams, MIT  Press, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1990, 1994, 1996. (Funded partially fromt he Office of Education and Improvement, Grant # G0087-C1001).

For further information read The Great American Con Game, by Barbara M. Morris with updated sequel by Charlotte T. Iserbyt . Image FX, PO Box 937, Escondido, CA 92033-0937,

Research Manual, compiled and edited by James R. Partick, P.O. Box 11164, Moline Ill. 61265(complete description of NASDC's Design Teams plus other current information on restructuring education - Goals 2000, School-to-Wrok etc.

Ann Herzer M. A. - Graduate of Arizona State University, Reading Specialist, History Major and member of Pi Lamba Theta (National Honors and Professional Association in Education). Also, a strong supporter of traditional phonics instruction for beginning readers and those that need it. A strong supporter of our great free-enterprise system of economics and Constitutional government. She believes that H. R. 2614 and other restructuring legislation coming from the federal level is totally unconstitutional.

cc: Phyllis Schlafly

U. S. Senators fromArizona