September 15th, 1996

WATCH: Early Learning

Most American parents believe that their childrens’ schools are at least okay, but American students are outperformed by students in nearly every other industrialized nation. But the good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. “Early Learning” reports on four approaches that seem to be getting results: Henry Levin’s “Accelerated Schools,” E.D. Hirsch’s “Core Knowledge Schools,” Robert Slavin’s “Roots and Wings” program, and James Comer’s “School Development Program.”

However, only about ten percent of our elementary schools are using these new approaches. Why so few? It may be that the good news hasn’t gotten around, but Dr. Lauren Resnick of the University of Pittsburgh says that’s not the only barrier. “Our children are capable of far more than we ask or expect of them, but schools don’t ask or expect enough because, deep down, we believe that only some children are smart, and only some children can learn.” When it comes to schooling, we apparently have an attitude problem. In other endeavors, like athletics and business, we know that hard work pays off, but somehow we seem to think that academic success is a matter of natural ability, genes, or social class.

As Dr. Sam Stringfield of Johns Hopkins University says, “The research proves that we know how to teach virtually every child, which means that we’ve run out of excuses. It’s time to teach the children.”

This program received an EWA Second Place award, as well as a Broadcast Media for Television award from the International Reading Association.

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