Reading, Writing, and Phonics Coming Back to Calif. Schools Low Test Scores Push Nation's Largest School System to Emphasize Basics

By Loren Stein, Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, July 11, 1995 | Go to article overview

Reading, Writing, and Phonics Coming Back to Calif. Schools Low Test Scores Push Nation's Largest School System to Emphasize Basics


Loren Stein, Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


FOR some educators, it is nothing less than a "battle for the souls of children." For others, it is simply a decision to bring California's educational curriculum "back to the center."

One way or another, the state legislature has sounded a wake-up call to top education officials: Children must be taught the core skills of spelling, reading, and math in the state's public schools.

California's back-to-basics swing - including a return to phonics - mirrors a nationwide trend. The legislature's order to reform the textbooks - known as the ABC bill - takes on added significance here, however, given that this is the country's largest school system, and the largest textbook market.

The bill, passed last week by a unanimous vote, sends a strong message to the state Department of Education that its progressive 1987 comprehensive language-arts program - despite the best intentions - is not measuring up.

Critics say lawmakers are pushing a simplistic solution to a set of complex problems facing the troubled California school system.

Once considered a national model, California schools have declined sharply over the last 20 years. The drop in financial support for schools can, in large part, be traced to the passing of Proposition 13 in 1978, which limited property taxes. California now has the lowest per student spending of all the industrial states and ranks 42nd in the country overall.

Recently released national and state test scores show that the majority of the state's schoolchildren are struggling with math and reading. California's fourth-graders tied with Louisiana's as having the lowest overall reading skills in the 39 states that participated in the national test.

"Despite all our excuses, what we see are abysmal reading and math scores," said Assemblywoman Dede Alpert (D) of San Diego, chair of the Assembly Education Committee and co-sponsor of the ABC bill. "What we're hoping to do is return to the middle and not let the pendulum swing wildly one way or another."

Although touted as a back-to-basics bill - sponsored by three legislators from across the political spectrum - much will be retained from the controversial 1987 curriculum reform program. Rather than being completely rewritten, textbooks will once again include a focus on the fundamentals of grammar, spelling, and arithmetic.

Glen Thomas, director of curriculum frameworks for the California Department of Education, says that the authors of the new curriculum mistakenly assumed that phonics and other essential learning tools would continue to be taught. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Reading, Writing, and Phonics Coming Back to Calif. Schools Low Test Scores Push Nation's Largest School System to Emphasize Basics
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.