I wanted to share this wonderful email that I received today from Robert Sweet of the National Right to Read Foundation (http://www.nrrf.org). He is commenting upon the Opinion part of my website: http://www.southern-style.com/Education/Education%20An%20Historical%20Perspective.htm. This note brings the wonderful gift of encouragement!
This is Bob Sweet…President of The National Right to Read Foundation. I just found your website and posted it on NRRR.org. Thank you for your clear thinking and fact based writing on the “politics’ of education, and other relevant topics. Yes, I have been tempted many times to head to my garden and pull weeds too! And, I do not blame you one bit for feeling so overwhelmed and discouraged about making change. I have been on the front lines for many decades myself, and even though I too am discouraged, and weary I trudge on because each child we rescue in our efforts is worth every bit of "blood, sweat and tears.” At the moment my wife Joy and I are in Murrieta, CA to resent the Patrick Groff Teacher of the Year Award to a young lady who is a kindergarten teacher here. She too was a “casualty” of the upside down reading practices when she was in elementary school. He Mom called our office and both my wife and I spoke with her, between the sobs and tears being shed in frustration for her daughter. After battling the school system for a long time, with no avail at that time anyway, she pulled her daughter out of school and taught her to read at home…using phonics of course….duh! Now, her daughter is a kindergarten teacher in the very school system that could not teach her to read. I visited her classroom a few months ago and the NRRF Board and I decided to choose her as our “Teacher of the Year for 2014.” I will be presenting it to her in a couple of hours…and, even though the school district is still lost in the morass of “politics” and poor education policy like Common Core and “leveled reading” (same old same old) there are glimmers of light that are beginning to shine through, and this young lady is one of them. The news reporters will likely be there today…and certainly the children in Ashlee’s classroom will be proficient readers at the end of the school year.
I want to thank you for including so much valuable information about the lack of proper reading instruction on your website, and for your willingness to engage in the battle against illiteracy. The value of even a few students who succeed is worth the effort. God bless you.
P.S. Dr. Patrick Groff was my mentor and friend and served on the NRRF Board for almost 30 years. At the request of his son Christopher I spoke at Pat’s memorial service last April. He was 90 when he passed away.