Emily Hanford, Reading Instruction, and an Age of Clownery

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We live in an age of clownery. In today’s clown age, radio journalists (Emily Hanford) get more attention from schools, state legislators, and even groups like the Illinois Reading Council than do teachers, serious academicians, researchers, and scholars when talking about reading instruction. In this age of clownery, for-profit groups are making decisions about what gets taught in our schools and what kind of professional development teachers receive. The voices of teachers and literacy experts, scholars, researchers have been silenced while the faceless moneychangers from the educational industrial complex are amplified But one of the problems in combating clowns is the effectiveness of their own clownery. Amongst the clutter of jokes disguised as facts, it can be difficult to get accurate (truthful) information out to the public. Today, know-nothing radio journalists are considered experts in reading instruction. As well, an article or column in a newspaper or magazine, written by a reporter who is hired to write about stuff about everything, gets more attention than a solid, peer-reviewed article published in an academic journal. That’s just the way of things. That’s how most come to understand reality. Decision makers are bottle-fed the warm milk of distortion from the teat of American Public Media.


Elementary and Literacy Education Department