An article in the June 23, 2023 issue of The Wall Street Journal ("Phonics finally Gets Its Due in New York. It took the city's education bureaucracy 20 years to recognize that the Success Academy approach works") described the shocking failure of the public school's ability to teach reading. Yet the blame is not theirs alone since if parents read first to and then with their toddlers, almost all children would be reading simple books by the time they entered kindergarten. And if all parents explained their directives (apart from emergency situations) rather than saying, "Do it because I say so," their cognitive development would be further enhanced since not providing explanation depresses the development of both the capacity for abstract thinking and of intrinsic motivation ("motivation which is inherent in information processing and action," as the noted psychologist, Joseph McVicker Hunt, stated in his 1960s paper). Hunt's work was a major influence in beginning the Head Start program. Learning and its love begin at home. Sadly, these no-cost education remedies are far from universal.
A Psychologist's Thoughts on Clinical Practice, Behavior, and Life
Recent news stories have detailed the shocking inadequacies of public school students in many American cities with single-digit percentages of graduating high school seniors achieving only grade-level scores on arithmetic and reading evaluation tests. Having treated many teachers I can't help thinking that the major problem in student achievement reflects less teacher inadequecy than that of the school's administration: inadequate, undemanding principals and rules forbidding proper action against bullying and emotionally disturbed students. But the behavior of parents too: were parents to first read to and then with their toddlers and, apart from emergency situations, to explain parental demands rather than say, "Do it because I say so," which depresses the development of the capacity for abstract thinking, most children would be reading simple books by kindergarten. Math is different since if earlier steps are missed, a child will continually fall behind. I've known very smart children to have problems with math so something may be wrong with how it's taught. Nuff said.