In this episode of New Ideal Live, Elan Journo and Sam Weaver discuss Natalie Wexler’s argument that many American elementary schools have abandoned the responsibility of teaching factual content, and that this rejection of the importance of knowledge is exacerbating the nation’s reading crisis.
Among the topics covered:
- The outrageous failure of American schools to teach students how to read and to kindle in them a love of reading;
- Natalie Wexler’s argument that this failure is related to the failure of schools to teach basic factual knowledge;
- Wexler’s view that phonics is necessary but not sufficient for teaching reading, because knowledge is also necessary for understanding meaning;
- Schools’ bizarre attempt to detach reading skills from the study of content;
- How this approach destroys students’ motivation to learn;
- Why government control of education is to blame for the entrenchment of these failed methods;
- How the establishment has ignored evidence of the bankruptcy of its methods.
Mentioned in the discussion are Natalie Wexler’s book The Knowledge Gap: The Hidden Cause of America’s Broken Education System – and How to Fix It, Ayn Rand’s essay “The Comprachicos”, Leonard Peikoff’s essay “The American School: Why Johnny Can’t Think”, and a New York Times article about literacy theorist Lucy Calkins.
This episode was recorded on February 10, 2023. Listen to the discussion below. Listen and subscribe from your mobile device on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher. Watch previous episodes here.