I suppose we'd been warned, weeks ago, that the New York City Department of Education was watching us. So I shouldn't have been surprised by the voice mail from Commissioner Joel Klein's personal assistant (a woman with a lovely British accent) that arrived just hours after I wrote this post.
As you may recall, I tweaked Commissioner Klein for refusing to admit that his "Balanced Literacy" reading program in use across the district was a fraud.
We connected late yesterday, and Joel voiced his strong disagreement. Didn't I know that New York City and Boston both got better reading results at the fourth-grade level than any other city--and that they both use balanced literacy? Didn't I see the latest research (referring to this What Works Clearinghouse review) showing that Open Court and Reading Mastery are lacking in evidence of effectiveness? He argued that New York City is actually doing quite well, thank you, in the decoding department, as indicated by strong fourth-grade reading scores. Where it falls down (as illustrated by poor eighth-grade scores) is in helping students develop comprehension. And that's why he's become boosterish on Core Knowledge as...