A recent edition of The Southern contained an article that relates to the September article on the outlook for our nation in the years to come as a result of the declining reading in general.
The article was titled, “ISBE seeking public input on changes to annual student tests.” Interestingly, the Illinois State Board of Education is deciding on the right tests so it can “help us understand student’s mastery of the learning standards and tailor instruction to meet student’s needs.”
Research on this subject located one book with a revealing title, "The Literacy Hoax – The Decline of Reading, Writing, and Learning in the Public Schools and What We Can Do About It," by Paul Copperman and published 40 years ago.
And then we have the Illinois Community College Board report in 1995, "The Illinois Community College System and The School-To-Work Transition Initiative – A Working Model." The conclusion section (page 10) contains this shocking statement, “It is estimated that over half of all entering college freshman test below college level in reading, writing, and computational skills.” It is clear from this statement that whatever happens in education at the elementary and secondary level affects our colleges and universities.
And then there is the ISBE “The Illinois Right to Read Initiative” of years past, i.e., “Reading is the foundation upon which academic success rests. Students who read well and widely build a strong foundation to learning in all subjects. Every child is entitled to learn how to read well before completing sixth grade. A child’s right to succeed is dependent on the right to read.”
Was this an educational initiative or a political initiative? A state initiative or a federal initiative? Beyond this, is the Illinois ISBE talking with the Illinois Community College Board and the Board of Higher Education? And don’t forget the ultimate customer, the workplace employer.
What Illinois needs is a master plan for public education — period.