FROM THE BFK ARCHIVES:
The recent legal logic (and smug certainty) of certain Southern states regarding gun control warrants address of the question, "Should you trust those who cannot read?" So, we dip into the BFK Archives for this piece from a few years back...
Recently, BFK staff C.B. and F.F. hit the road southward, towards New Orleans (thus the gap in posts last week). Along the way, they saw this billboard near the Nissan plant outside Jackson, MS. Note that it does not say "IF our children can't read, we are all losers." It just comes out and states unconditionally that Mississippians are a bunch of losers.
It would be just too good to be true were the billboard a product of a state-based campaign. A government telling its citizens they are a bunch of losers would be too much fun. Thus, we have to report that the billboard above is the result of a citizen group from Tupelo, MS that is advocating use of the Orton-Gillingham method of instruction, a method of teaching reading to dyslexic students that has been in use in some form since the 1930s. So, this billboard is arguing that reading levels are so bad in MS, that a special-needs-student approach is warranted, generally.
Where this whole deal becomes even more interesting is that the website address for the group posting the billboard contains a prominent link to a particular for-profit institute in Michigan, the Institute for Multi-Sensory Education, that trains people in this method. If the link is just informational and not commercial, why not just link to the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators, a non-profit educational organization. Perhaps it is the for-profit company that paid for the billboard and is driving the campaign?
Now, BFK takes no stand on Orton-Gillingham, as we are bloggers, not educators. We have to note, however, that the Wiki page on the method notes (and these claims are corroborated by other sites) that there is a debate in the scientific education journals over how well the Orton-Gillingham method works. It seems that proponents label its success as scientifically-validated, academics say that the literature studying the method is underdeveloped and mixed with no quality studies showing the extent of the claims of the proponents, and detractors say that it is a way (through No Child Left Behind) for the government to take further control of local educational agendas (We Wonder: Are these the same hacks arguing on behalf of Intelligent Design?).