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Public Shaming

(I’ve been holding onto this for two years.  Yes, I wrote this in its entirety 29 months ago, and never hit publish.  Sometimes I do that, and it’s for various reasons really.  One reason is I’m not ready, another is sometimes I just need to purge the words from my brain but never intend them for mass consumption, and sometimes it is just because I’m not up for the fight it might create at the time.  Well, right, wrong or indifferent, I never delete my drafts and after enough time sometimes my attitude is screw it, I’m publishing.  So, that’s what’s happening now.  Let the chips fall where they may.  There’s nothing that I wrote here that I’m not willing to stand by or say to someone’s face.  I was publicly shamed by a group of teachers for standing against balanced literacy.  I get their anger at being told the pedagogy they believe so strongly in is harming our children, really I do, but I am no longer willing to tolerate the abject fanaticism that goes along with Balanced Literacy.  I now know that the abject fanaticism is simply a refusal to learn, to grow, to accept change.  Well, life is change, and I’m no longer sympathetic to those willfully clinging to the sinking ship that is BL in the face of science.  I will not be tolerant of sticking ones fingers in their ears and shouting as loudly as possible to not hear the science.  That’s childish.  Sometimes the truth is harsh.)

To the teachers who tried to publicly shame me for “ranting” against the sharing of terrible teaching methods by our overworked GenEd dyslexia teacher, here is my reply.

While I can appreciate your statements and believe in freedom of speech, you completely missed the point.  The post was handouts meant to be given to parents that were all balanced literacy entrenched dogma on how to “help their child become a better reader” over the summer.  There was nothing in the post that was seated in the science of reading, but purely balanced literacy, and frankly, since that was emailed and posted by a dyslexia teacher, I expect a great deal more from her.

While I do acknowledge I could have been more clear in my post and do bear a responsibility for clarity, the issue is the content of the very poor methodologies shared with parents as a means to “help” them help their child.

This is an example of what was sent home to parents, not the actual email.

Nothing in what was shared is supported by the science of reading. The methodologies espoused in the “cheat sheets” was nothing more than Balanced literacy tripe and for that “opinion” I am wholly and completely unapologetic. If you don’t like it, I respect your opinion and respectfully invite you to stop following our page in every way possible.

Next, we fully and completely support teachers. If you had read the post in depth you would have read that support.

We know for a fact that the university curriculums do not teach about dyslexia, Structured Literacy, OG or anything about learning differences. While some universities offer courses, they are typically electives and not mandatory for graduation. Dyslexia, which affects 1 in 5, or 20% if you do the math, and according to Dr. Sally Shaywitz in her book Overcoming Dyslexia, that % is more accurately between 15-30%, affects far more than the individual it impacts, as it impacts the loved ones and family members who support that child.

The point is, the statistics are extremely daunting and our universities do not teach to it.

That is not the fault of the teachers themselves and I can’t count the vast number of times we have made that statement.

Next, the sending of such material was very probably not the position of the individual teacher but at the direction of the head of curriculum, yet regardless, that teacher reports to those who run the dyslexia department for the district, and again they SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER!

What you do not know, and what I do not talk about, is the extremely poor management, public position, and adopted “literacy” curriculum of this particular district, which is Lucy Calkins, and that out of the 50 districts that make up the greater Houston metroplex, I’m not going to publicly name them. What I also do not talk about is the rampant abuse parents face in this particular “destination district,” the lies, ego, misinformation, bullying, retaliation, and utter contempt with which this district treats its parents. Our children suffer greatly under the guise of their “expertise” every single day. The very fact that they claim to have a dyslexia department at all is highly laughable.

Is that the individual teacher’s fault? Again, no. But, is it the fault of the district and the extremely poor management of that district? YES!!!!

Balanced Literacy isn’t literacy. Period.

So while I applaud your defense of your fellow teacher in arms, and while I could have done a better job explaining, you do not know the whole story and are making judgments without all of the facts.

If that makes me a bad person and you want to continue to bash me, go ahead. I’m a big girl and I can take it.

However, to the other teacher who told me to go read to my child instead of ranting about poor teaching methods, go straight to hell, in fact, I’ve got a basket you can ride in on your way there. While I do not blame teachers for not being educated, I do blame those who have the science of reading staring them in the face and choose to ignore the facts, who choose to continue to shame the parent. Your contempt and ignorance will not be tolerated here.

Not that it’s any of your business, but I read to my child every single day and have since he was in the womb. Has that helped his reading ability? No. Why? Because he’s dyslexic.

As one of the Admins here sarcastically said, “Wow!! It’s like we’ve never thought of that! Holy cow! The cure to my child’s dyslexia is right there in my refusal to ever read to him! This person is a genius! I wish I had been smart enough to think of that!”

A little piece of advice, get off your high horse and stop trying to shame parents for the way their child’s brain is wired. The science of dyslexia is available to you and has been for decades. The science of reading is available to you and has been for even longer than that. Hell, we even have a handy little graphic pinned to the top of the page and are always willing to have a greater conversation about it with those willing to engage politely and not say such tripe to parents.

I’m sorry you’ve completely missed the message. Again I am grateful for your comments as it gives me the opportunity to clarify further. Admittedly I get a little rushed between my full time job, the massive amount of time I spend advocating for my child as well as others, the non profit I am building and my continual willingness to put myself out there every single day on social media to spread awareness about the science of reading and doing what I can to celebrate the great dyslexic mind by #CelebratingDyslexia. If I may be so bold, I recommend you start your own group/pages and share your version of the proper methodology since clearly you’re experts, at least enough of experts to come and attempt shame me.

Sadly, you failed.

So again, thanks for your comments. Either stick around and learn or shut the hell up and go away.

One comment on “Public Shaming

  1. Renee Harding says:

    I applaud your response! SCIENCE DOES NOT LIE! If teacher prep programs required EDUCATION coursework in research methodology and critically evaluating and reading scientific research journals rather than ignoring research or teaching disdain for it, more teachers would be prepared to digest and act on the evidence that Balanced Literacy has failed to teach millions of individuals to read.

    Dr. M. Paff has critiqued several of the recent attempts of BL publishers to provide evidence of efficacy. Their own statistical analyses demonstrated failure. Given that BL is built upon Whole Language, initially called Psycholinguistic Guessing by Kenneth Goodman, was based purely upon observations that led to the false conclusions that strong readers use the methods that have subsequently been found to be those used only by beginning and weak readers, adding a sprinkling of sound knowledge or phonics only when the three cues (already strategies used only by the weakest readers) fail, BL can’t work. In other words, the pedagogy, from beginning to end, is completely devoid of fact. Efficacy of the pedagogy is impossible.


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