Presentation on theme: "THE POLITICS OF LITERACY INSTRUCTION: An Historical Case Study of Elementary Literacy Programming at the Local Level 22 nd World Reading Congress July."— Presentation transcript:
THE POLITICS OF LITERACY INSTRUCTION: An Historical Case Study of Elementary Literacy Programming at the Local Level 22 nd World Reading Congress July 2008
Purpose of Research in Schools To make it possible to change situations for the better (Bransford, et al, 2000; Spindler, 1982).
East Baton Rouge Elementary Reading Program1996-2006 How have local, national and political forces shaped literacy practices and instructional change in the East Baton Rouge Parish School Systems (EBRPSS) elementary reading program from 1996 to 2006? What is the impact of such change on selected teachers and administrators from 1996 – 2006?
Study Dimensions Context Space & time Schedules People (key informants) Angle my vision Foreground & background Positioning
Why Ethnographic Approaches? As a method of inquiry Ethnographic research has always contained within it a variety of perspectives (p. 467). Atkinson, P., Coffey, A., & Delamont, S. (1999). Ethnography: Post, past, and present. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 28, 460-471.
Why a Case Study? Being on the case in language and literacy studies, means I want to engage in the intense study of singular individuals, local activities, and specific places (p.1). Dyson Haas, A. & Genishi, C. (2005). On the case. NY: Teachers College Press.
Why An Historical Perspective? A case study is an exploration of a bounded system, bounded by time and place. Creswell, J. (1998). Qualitative inquiry & research design. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
M-Ms view I am fascinated by the messy complexity of human school experience and the combination of units- how teachers and administrators experienced the literacy world around them in EBRPSS from 1996- 2006…..
Nested Design EBRPSS Elem. Rdg. Prog. Local Leadership National Organizations Political Forces
East Baton Rouge Parish School System Demographic Overview100 th largest school system in the US 465 square miles 54 elementary schools (2 post-Katrina) 17 middle schools (1 post-K; 2 alternative) 18 high schools (4 alternative) 78.68% Black/ 21.32% non-Black 75.35% free & reduced lunch 48,634 total students (25,306 elementary)
Study Particulars Site & participants (EBRPSS within nest; selected teachers & administrators) Data Sources (field notes as participant/observer, formal/informal interviews, historical artifacts) Data analysis (searching for coherency…Wolf, interpretive & reflexive as others experience is mediated by my experience (read, analytically code to group & categorize data, construct an analytic quilt (look for developing patterns Findings (pulling together the analytical strands)
Significant Political Events 1998 US Congress decides to become involved in reading1998 US Congress decides to become involved in reading 2000 National Reading Panel2000 National Reading Panel –Ignored studies over 20 years old –Only empirical work included –Only considered scientifically-based reading research 2000 Louisiana institutes L.E.A.P.2000 Louisiana institutes L.E.A.P. 2001 the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act2001 the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act 2001 confirmed Rod Paige as (7 th ) Sect of Education2001 confirmed Rod Paige as (7 th ) Sect of Education 2002 Reading First program announced2002 Reading First program announced 2003, Susan Neuman resigns as Under Sect of Ed.2003, Susan Neuman resigns as Under Sect of Ed. 2005 Rod Paige resigns as Sect of Education2005 Rod Paige resigns as Sect of Education 2005 Margaret Spellings confirmed (8 th ) Sect of Education2005 Margaret Spellings confirmed (8 th ) Sect of Education 2005 Reid Lyon leaves Natl Inst. of Child Health & Human Development2005 Reid Lyon leaves Natl Inst. of Child Health & Human Development
National Political Leaders 1993-2001 William Jefferson Clinton1993-2001 William Jefferson Clinton 2001-present George Walker Bush2001-present George Walker Bush
IRA leadership 1996-97Richard Vacca1996-97Richard Vacca 1997-98John Pikulski1997-98John Pikulski 1998-99Kathryn Ransom1998-99Kathryn Ransom 1999-2000Carol Santa1999-2000Carol Santa 2000-01Carmelita Williams2000-01Carmelita Williams 2001-02Donna Ogle2001-02Donna Ogle 2002-03Jerry Johns2002-03Jerry Johns 2003-04Leslie Mandel Marrow2003-04Leslie Mandel Marrow 2004-05Mary Ellen Vogt2004-05Mary Ellen Vogt 2005-06Richard Allington2005-06Richard Allington
NRC leadership 1996-97Kathryn Au1996-97Kathryn Au 1997-98Martha Riddell1997-98Martha Riddell 1998-99Linda B. Gambrel1998-99Linda B. Gambrel 1999-2000Taffy E. Raphael1999-2000Taffy E. Raphael 2000-01Peter Mosenthal2000-01Peter Mosenthal 2001-02Deborah Dillon2001-02Deborah Dillon 2002-03Lee Gunderson2002-03Lee Gunderson 2003-04Lea McGee2003-04Lea McGee 2004-05Donald Leu2004-05Donald Leu 2005-06Victoria Purcell-Gates2005-06Victoria Purcell-Gates
Whats Hot-Whats Not column This is a survey of literacy leaders conducted since 1996. Between April and August, literacy leaders are interviewed, in person or by phone. All are read A standard 178-word paragraph and respond hot or not hot, the should be hot, or should not be hot. Interviewees are told responses do not necessarily reflect their personal opinions, but responses refer to the level of attention a topic is given.
Whats Hot-Whats Not Each year the 25 literacy leaders who responded the previous year are sent the previous years list, asked to make modifications and return via a SASE. Those who do not respond are either called or e-mailed and urged to respond. For instance, 23 of the 25 who were on the 2006 list eventually responded and thus, the 2007 list was constructed.
List Criteria National or international literacy perspective Board members & editorial boards represented Geographical representation based on IRA membership Different job categories Ethnically diverse *****Knowledge of trends and issues at national/international level******
Whats Hot 200610 th year Adolescent literacy(very hot) Direct/explicit instruction Comprehension ESL/ELLFluency High stakes assessmentInformational texts Literacy/reading coachesPhonics Meaning/vocabulary Early intervention Scientific evidence-based reading research & inst. Political/policy influences on literacy instruction
Whats Hot 20059 th year Scientifically evidence-based reading research & instruction(extremely hot) ComprehensionESL(very hot) Fluencydirect/explicit instruction Phonemic awarenesshigh stakes assessment Phonicsliteracy/reading coaches Political/policy influences on literacy
Whats Hot 20048 th year Comprehension(very hot) Direct instruction Early intervention Fluency High-stakes assessment Phonemic awareness Phonics Scientific evidence-based reading research & inst.
Whats Hot 20037 th year (very hot) Scientifically based reading research & practiceScientifically based reading research & practice PhonicsPhonics Phonemic awarenessPhonemic awareness High-stakes assessmentHigh-stakes assessment FluencyFluency Early interventionEarly intervention Direct instructionDirect instruction
Whats Hot 20026 th year Early intervention (very hot)Early intervention (very hot) High-stakes assessmentHigh-stakes assessment Phonemic awarenessPhonemic awareness PhonicsPhonics Research-based practiceResearch-based practice Teacher education for readingTeacher education for reading
Whats Hot 20015 th year Balanced reading instruction (very hot)Balanced reading instruction (very hot) Decodable textDecodable text Early interventionEarly intervention Guided readingGuided reading High-stakes assessmentHigh-stakes assessment Research-based practiceResearch-based practice Phonemic awarenessPhonemic awareness PhonicsPhonics
Whats Hot 20004 th year Balanced reading instruction (very hot)Balanced reading instruction (very hot) Decodable textDecodable text Early interventionEarly intervention Guided readingGuided reading Research-based practiceResearch-based practice Phonemic awarenessPhonemic awareness PhonicsPhonics State/provincial/national assessmentState/provincial/national assessment
Whats Hot 19993 rd year Balanced reading instruction (very hot)Balanced reading instruction (very hot) Decodable textDecodable text Early interventionEarly intervention Guided readingGuided reading Phonemic awarenessPhonemic awareness PhonicsPhonics State/provincial/national assessmentState/provincial/national assessment Volunteer tutoringVolunteer tutoring
Whats Hot 19982 nd year Balanced reading instruction (very hot)Balanced reading instruction (very hot) Early interventionEarly intervention Direct instructionDirect instruction Phonemic awarenessPhonemic awareness PhonicsPhonics Volunteer tutoringVolunteer tutoring
Whats Hot 19971 st year Balanced reading instruction (very hot)Balanced reading instruction (very hot) Early interventionEarly intervention Emergent literacyEmergent literacy Phonemic awarenessPhonemic awareness
EBRPSS Superintendents 1996-2006 *[1995 Jerry Epperson (interim)] *1995-2001 Gary Matthews *June 2001- July 2004 Clayton Wilcox *July –Nov. 2004 C. Placide (interim) *Nov. 2004-present Charlotte Placide *[1995 Jerry Epperson (interim)] *1995-2001 Gary Matthews *June 2001- July 2004 Clayton Wilcox *July –Nov. 2004 C. Placide (interim) *Nov. 2004-present Charlotte Placide
EBRPSS Literacy Programs Purchased Matthews…… (1995-2001) ……….Reading Recovery, basal reader as program, established literacy libraries, little books, espoused balanced literacy approach & distributed leadership Wilcox……(2001-04)…..Compass Learning, Read 180, basal reader as program, espoused standard approach and instituted frequent progress monitoring, pacing guides Placide… (2004-2007) ……Open Court, ordered all other materials to warehouse, espoused a scripted approach, instituted 90 minute blocks w/a menu of activities
Administrator Demographics Ms. S…..38 years in system,Ms. S…..38 years in system, 1996 appointed principal Mr. R….38 years in systemMr. R….38 years in system 1996 appointed principal Sam…..45 years in systemSam…..45 years in system 1996 appointed principal 1996 appointed principal
Administrator interviews Ms. S…… Im a team player, but I also do what is right for children. I will always do what I am told, but I work for whats best for my school, these children and this community. Children must remain the focus, not programs.
Administrator interviews Mr. R….. I feel professionally discounted and disappointed that the district made such abrupt changes without input from the majority of principals. It seems a much wiser course to pilot these initiatives and then examine their efficacy before making sweeping instructional changes. Principal and teacher buy-in were obviously not priorities. In fact, principals were told that implementation of the 2005 reading initiative was unconditional and our only alternative was to resign. Principal turnover has been tremendous since 2005.
Administrator interviews Sam… We need to work for the whole, for what is best for the entire district. We have very high performing schools right here, but we ignore their success, look outside the system and the powers that be seem to think there is a magic, silver bullet out there. We have the expertise, and we have the sense, and we know our community, but those that speak up have paid a heavy price for their words.
Teacher Demographics JKC 29 years with system, left in 2006JKC 29 years with system, left in 2006 Mrs. C 16 years with system, remains in systemMrs. C 16 years with system, remains in system Mrs. D 15 years with system, left in 2006Mrs. D 15 years with system, left in 2006 EGH 17 years with system, le4ft in 2005EGH 17 years with system, le4ft in 2005
Teacher Interviews JKC 29 years with system, left in 2006JKC 29 years with system, left in 2006 I could only bend my philosophy so far. When they hired a Director of Reading with no reading background in 2005, I couldnt hide in my school and pretend any more. I couldnt stomach the changes. In 1997, I was so proud to work for EBRPSS, we were making huge strides in reading. Eight years later, I left because of the nonsense.
Teacher Interviews Mrs. C 16 years with system, remains in systemMrs. C 16 years with system, remains in system I stay because of my principal, her advocacy for kids and teachers and because she does what is best for kids. I felt so empowered in 1997. I though Balanced Literacy was the approach for us. It worked. Kids learned. We gave kids what they needed. We still do that in my building, but I wouldnt work anywhere else in the distract. Those in charge swing like a tree in the wind.
Teacher Interviews Mrs. D 15 years with system, left in 2006Mrs. D 15 years with system, left in 2006 Being trained in Reading Recovery, having the empowerment to work for children as a team and then to teach teachers was so energizing. When the district decided to purchase Open Court, I knew my days were numbered. I couldnt work for a system that devalued professional input and opinions, that reduced kids to robots and ignored the thinking part of reading.
Teacher Interviews EGH 17 years with system, left in 2005EGH 17 years with system, left in 2005 Ten years ago, I would never have imagined leaving EBR. It was a great place to work, teachers had a voice and children were at the center of instructional decisions. As I worked on my National Boards and examined my practice, I kept thinking about what the district was doing, how it was changing and why. I left the first chance I had.
Findings Loss of input and empowerment leads to negative feelings.Loss of input and empowerment leads to negative feelings. The narrower the focus, the less professionalism in terms of input and decision-making.The narrower the focus, the less professionalism in terms of input and decision-making. Focus on programs, not children.Focus on programs, not children. Rapid change is unsettling, erodes professionalism.Rapid change is unsettling, erodes professionalism.
Margaret-Mary Sulentic Dowell Assistant Professor of Reading Education Department of Educational Theory, Policy & Practice College of Education Louisiana State University 220 Peabody Hall Baton Rouge, LA 70803 (office) 225-578-5998 (fax) 225-578-9135 firstname.lastname@example.org