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Volume 3 • #12 • Nov. 2004


The election is over, so it appears that the “No Child Left Behind” program will be with us for the next four years. Most of the criticism of the program is that it is full of requirements for improving test scores but has no money behind it, leaving strapped communities to tap into already high property taxes. As a long-term member of our school committee I can understand that argument!

But the kids who are left the farthest behind and always have been, are the bright, but undiagnosed or ineffectively treated dyslectics of this world. And the amount of money we spend here (and I am sure it’s true in other districts as well) on special education is mind-boggling. The government provides plenty of money, but it isn’t used effectively- or to put it less charitably, it is badly wasted on “inclusion”, “resource rooms”, and assorted other worthless activities. The one thing the dyslectic kid needs, and the ONLY thing he needs, is to learn to read well. All this other stuff is a waste if he doesn’t learn to read by himself.

The irony of all this is that under the “No Child Left Behind” act, its money can only be spent on “science-based” curriculums. Now the one program that actually teaches a dyslectic child to read at grade level or above also happens to be the only one that is science-based! And because it gets results four or five times as fast as the best of the other phonics programs on the market, it is by far the cheapest. There is absolutely no scientific evidence that even the best of the other phonics programs make any attempt to address the basic cause of dyslexia. This is because they are merely trying to teach the child to read. But the problem is not that he can’t read. The problem is that he can’t LEARN TO READ. You have to rewire his brain so that it can learn to read first. How to do this is the science-based part of the RfS program. The scientists in neuro labs have found that dyslectics do not use the left angular gyrus in the brain when they are trying to read or spell. But that is the area that is programmed from birth for the job. RfS is designed to rewire the brain to use that area, and then to train it in the phonics and other activities it needs.

The amount of government money that is spent on remedial reading and special education is more than enough to finance the teaching necessary to get dyslexics up to snuff. We don’t even need “No Child Left Behind” money. In fact, if the 10% of the school population that is dyslectic were properly treated, MCAS scores would go up, drop-out rates would go down, fewer young men would end up in the local lockup, fewer people would be on welfare, and millions would lead very different, fulfilling lives.

This is a funny country.

Teaching tip:

If your student asks how you can tell whether a word ends in –-cks, or --x, you point out to him that anything that ends in the letter S is a plural word. Tacks means more than one thumbtack, whereas tax means -- but you know that part. Yes, he is supposed to know that the letter S on the end of a word means plural, but you are dealing with slippery memories.

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Archives (2001 files in .doc format):

April 2004 - Vol. 3 #6 November 2002 - Vol. 2, #3
March 2004 - Vol. 3 #5 October 2002 - Vol. 2, #2
February 2004 - Vol. 3, #4 September 2002 - Vol. 2, #1
December 2003 - Vol. 3, #3 August 2002 - Vol. 1, #11
October/November 2003 - Vol. 3, #2 July 2002 - Vol. 1, #10
September 2003 - Vol. 3, #1 May 2002 - Vol. 1, #9
August 2003 - Vol 2, # 12 March 2002 - Vol. 1, #8
July 2003 - Vol. 2, #11 February 2002 - Vol. 1, #7
June 2003 - Vol. 2, #10 January 2002 - Vol. 1, #6
May 2003 - Vol. 2, #9 December 2001 - Vol. 1, #5
April 2003 - Vol. 2, #8 November 2001 - Vol. 1, #4
March 2003 - Vol. 2 #7 October 2001 - Vol. 1, #3
January 2003 - Vol. 2, #5 September 2001 - Vol. 1, #2
December 2002 - Vol. 2, #4 August 2001 - Vol. 1, #1



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