The Knowledge Gap

The Knowledge Gap

The Hidden Cause of America's Broken Education System--and How to Fix It

Book - 2019
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"The untold story of the root cause of America's education crisis--and the seemingly endless cycle of multigenerational poverty. It was only after years within the education reform movement that Natalie Wexler stumbled across a hidden explanation for our country's frustrating lack of progress when it comes to providing every child with a quality education. The problem wasn't one of the usual scapegoats: lazy teachers, shoddy facilities, lack of accountability. It was something no one was talking about: the elementary school curriculum's intense focus on decontextualized reading comprehension "skills" at the expense of actual knowledge. In the tradition of Dale Russakoff's The Prize and Dana Goldstein's The Teacher Wars, Wexler brings together history, research, and compelling characters to pull back the curtain on this fundamental flaw in our education system--one that fellow reformers, journalists, and policymakers have long overlooked, and of which the general public, including many parents, remains unaware. But The Knowledge Gap isn't just a story of what schools have gotten so wrong--it also follows innovative educators who are in the process of shedding their deeply ingrained habits, and describes the rewards that have come along: students who are not only excited to learn but are also acquiring the knowledge and vocabulary that will enable them to succeed. If we truly want to fix our education system and unlock the potential of our neediest children, we have no choice but to pay attention"--
Publisher: New York : Avery, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, ©2019.
ISBN: 9780735213555
Characteristics: 324 pages ;,24 cm.


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Oct 20, 2019

I read this as a parent interested in education rather than as a teacher. It is an excellent primer on the ways in which skills based focus in Common Core is letting our children down. It as if the focus on decoding and comprehension is giving children "forks and spoons" without out the "meal" of truly engaging content.

The book uses anecdotes to hold the free CORE KNOWLEDGE curriculum up as a successful alternative path. The Wit & Wisdom and EngageNY curriculum are also shown to help students improve their test scores and overcome the Matthew Effect.

After reading this book and as a parent in a common core focused school district (which uses the rather ineffective JOURNEYS basal reader) I'll be using the Core Knowledge produced "What Your ________ Should Know" books to supplement my child's education.

Aug 20, 2019

From First Grade to Fifth Grade I was considered a slow learner and poor reader. Then around the end of Fifth Grade I decided to read an adult level novel that interested me. It took me almost a month; but that was just the start. I had a library card and read over a dozen novels that summer.
Next fall the school was in shock my reading comprehension level had jumped 4 grades!
Get kids reading what holds their interest. Let them pick their own summer reading list don't censor. Then cut them off from all things electronic. You'll have a good reader by the end of summer.

Aug 20, 2019
Not the most exciting of reads, can be slow and boring, of course, but THE most important of reads. When I first heard, some months back on NPR's Radio Lab show, that the whole-language reading method was still in massive use across the country, after having been disproven in any effectiveness many multiple times over the past four decades, I was truly shocked - - and it requires much to shock my ancient eyes!
Ms. Wexler and a relatively small number of others, have brought this to public attention - - the insane and shameless/shameful exercise in self-destruction of many generations now of failed readers and past/present and future illiterates and aliterates!
The Gates Foundation can handle the simple stuff: mosquito nets treated with insecticides, but when they address educational problems - - without the fundamental process of examining ALL variables and accumulating as much contextual knowledge as possible - - they screw up everything and colossally waste money [although that foundation has employed, at fantastically high salaries, former corrupt local and national politicians, and several international ones as well]!
No, not smaller class size, although such may not hurt too much, not ultra-effective teachers, but actually teaching children how to read correctly, then the logical pursuit of knowledge, especially the basics.
Now it is not surprising to me of the number of books by PhD in math-authors who cannot even grasp basic arithmetic and aritmetical relationships [forever incorrectly proclaiming we are all six degress of separation from one another! Holy Moly!!!!], and so many others who simply do not nor have ever qualified for any advanced degress, being incapable of analytical reading and thinking!
A must read book, no matter how unexciting . . . .
After I posted this somebody sent me an audio clip of this author being interviewed - - really an attack interview - - by local NPR station's Bill Radke, one of the worst interviewers, and consistently the most ignorant of things both Seattle and generally speaking, anywhere! Instead of concentrating on the fact that American schools were still using the thoroughly debunked whole-language method, and should return to phonics/decoding, Radke just kept hammering away at this author. Really pathetic . . .

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