Columbia University is trying to quietly walk away from a disaster it imposed on generations of American children.
The least we can do is call out the damage done.
Just before the Labor Day weekend, Columbia announced that it’s “dissolving” the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project and sending its creator, Lucy Calkins, off on indefinite sabbatical.
For decades, Calkins and her colleagues pushed “literacy” programs based on ideology, not science, programs that failed the children who most needed help.
Her “balanced literacy” approach gave short shrift to phonics — by teaching children to look at pictures and guess words, for example, instead of sounding them out — and failed to foster the building of knowledge and vocabulary vital to learning the love of reading.
Columbia’s decision comes months after Chancellor David Banks pulled the plug on the Calkins-friendly approach once used by nearly half of NYC public schools.
Indeed, the drive toward “evidence-based” instruction has seen districts across the nation reject the Teachers College approach.
So Columbia’s move is essentially just recognizing reality.
But it doesn’t recognize the school’s guilt.