This is a story in the works for one my paying gigs. If you have experience with this sort of thing, consider this fishing for background.
Anyway. The Texas State Board of Ed has been working on new language instruction standards, and things have gotten ugly:
- State Board of Education members, casting aside months of work by English teachers across the state, tentatively approved new curriculum standards Thursday for English and reading classes that will be used in Texas schools for the next decade.
Led by its social conservative bloc, the board rejected a curriculum proposal written and backed by several teacher associations – including those representing English teachers – and instead adopted a Washington, D.C.-based consultant's plan that changes the way grammar is taught.
I've done a little reading on the language wars but was unaware parties would resort to political intrigue:
- Some board members accused teacher groups of hijacking the process by pushing their own document instead of the one tentatively approved by the board.
"The process has become a joke and a mockery," said Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond , calling it "contaminated and a circus."
So here's the thing. None of the stories talk about whether there is any research on any of these approaches. Even the Fordham story I got this from talks about research. Both parties seem to be working more based on politically-based assumptions.
The idea of teaching grammar only in the context of writing is counterintutive. It sounds like teaching the fingering on a flute only in the context of playing a concerto or telling someone to make eggs Benedict without knowing how to make a Hollandaise sauce.
On the other hand, watching a daughter learning to read and doing well with a curriculum that teaches her strategies for reading comprehension, it's hard to see who would object. But I can see how that some might dismiss it as mollycoddling PC stuff.
So I know some teachers happen by on occasion. If you can shed any light on all this, I'll be in your debt.
1A hattip to a friend who came up with the title during a conversation today. She's actually blogger Keith Woodruff's wife Marisol. And by the way if you want to mean on me for stereotyping Texans I'll point out that Appolonia is actually from Texas and you will go on about the long history of self-hating Texans and I will weep silently until you go away.