Regarding the Nov. 4 Point of View “ In UNC scandal, the unasked why”: Mary Carey does not need the UNC scandal to show we are failing our African-American students. She’s right; we are.
She uses data to show our African-American boys and girls are reading below grade level. But her solution – incorporating the Orton-Gillingham system in our schools – is not right. That method is great for people who need it: those who can’t decode words on a page, struggle to “sound out words” and labor word by word. I’ve used a similar system, Wilson Reading Program, with great results. The thing is, most of our kids can read.
I was a middle school reading specialist for 13 years. My mostly African-American students could read just fine. Really. They just couldn’t understand what they read. Therein lies the problem: comprehension.
We were rolling out the Common Core my last year in the public schools. (I now teach Developmental Reading at Durham Tech.) I believed the Common Core, properly implemented, would have helped our African-American students develop crucial, critical-thinking skills. It asks students from a young age to cite evidence from the text to support answers and ask how it “connects to our own lives.” It fosters close analysis.
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Common Core along with preschool so no student starts kindergarten behind are pathways to UNC-CH admission. And perhaps to study science, not basketball.