Backwards

November 13, 2007

Backwards thinking by backwards people, who administer backwards policy -leads to backwardness.

Those are interesting questions presented by Emily and Yashna.  I’ve been hearing this (i don’t know what to really call it) …but this correlation between 2nd grade reading levels and the development of prisons which may add to our discussion.  Here’s what came up:

From
Investing in Literacy
“Indiana’s former governor has stated that determining the number of new prisons to build is based, in part, on the number of second graders not reading at second-grade level.”

From
Dialects, Teaching Reading and Literacy to Dialect Speakers: Educational CyberPlayGround™
 

“In California they plan how many jail cells they will build in the future by how many children are not reading on grade level by third grade. ”

From
Democracy and Equity: CES’s Tenth Common Principle
“Based on this year’s fourth-grade reading scores,” observes Paul Schwartz, a Coalition principal in residence at the U. S. Department of Education, “California is already planning the number of new prison cells it will need in the next century.”

From
Evidence Based Education Science and Learning to Read

David Boulton: We were interviewing Lesley Morrow, the Past-President of the International Reading Association, and she made a statement which flabbergasted me. She said this was a fact: that there are some states that determine how many prison cells to build based on reading scores.

Dr. Grover (Russ) Whitehurst: Yes. Again, the predictability of reading for life success is so strong, that if you look at the proportion of middle schoolers who are not at the basic level, who are really behind in reading, it is a very strong predictor of problems with the law and the need for jails down the line…

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What kind of society/people – gives up on 2nd graders?  The interesting thing is that people who think like this and i’m sure some kind of research supports this backwards way of thinking, hold very high positions in public office and their backwards policy impacts everyone of us in so many ways.   The fact that they have these positions means that they are in fact leaders (in a certain sense)…but leaders nonetheless…which gives them the authority to determine the direction of this country.

We have X amount of children who scored low on their reading exams, Y not reevaluate our education system(?)…No…let’s build more jails…clearly, one is a prognosticator of the other…i wish i had the foresight to look into a young child’s eyes and predict his or her future…and then use tax dollars towards that prediction…but even then, it wouldn’t have anything to do with prison or jail…i think you have to see that in people -in children, to make that mental leap. 

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2 Responses to “Backwards”

  1. yashna Says:

    Gardy,
    Thank you for your blog. I appreciate all these thoughts brought to surface for us to think about. You brought me to tears when you wrote “What kind of society/people – gives up on 2nd graders?” because the leading answer is OUR kind, our society. How have we let it get to be this way? What I can take refuge in is the work that we do, day to day, to change the life of one person at a time through reading. Thank you for your insight and your work.
    Yashna

  2. Kelly Says:

    As someone who just had a tour of Central Prison yesterday, I have to say that I am appalled a many things: 1. the young age of the prisoners, 2. the correlation of education and violent crime, 3. the number of death row inmates, and 4. the fact that we’ve been completely unsuccessful in combating gangs.


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