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August 22 , 2008

Preparing the Nation’s Teachers to Teach Reading

A Manifesto in Defense of “Teacher Educators Like Me”


Preparing The Nation’s Teachers To Teach Reading: A Manifesto In Defense Of “Teacher Educators Like Me” by Curt Dudley-Marling offers a spirited defense of the work of university-based teacher educators to prepare the nation’s teachers to teach reading. This text gives particular attention to various reports of the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), which assert that university-based reading educators are not adequately preparing teachers to teach reading.

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Dudley-Marling shows that NCTQ’s reports are so flawed that they are useless in evaluating the effectiveness of reading education in schools of education. In particular, Preparing The Nation’s Teachers To Teach Reading demonstrates the complete absence of a relationship between NCTQ’s assessment of the quality of teacher preparation in reading in given states and how well students in those states actually perform on national assessments of reading achievement.

He also responds to the criticism that teacher educators ignore research on the science of reading by critiquing the behavioral theory of reading that underpins NCTQ’s assessment of the preparation of teachers to teach reading. He then shows that reading educators like him do not ignore the science of reading by detailing the sociocultural model of reading that informs the work of most university-based reading educators.

Finally, he shows that the ultimate goal of many educational reform groups like NCTQ is to undercut public support for traditional public schools to pave the way for free market-based schooling based on competition and profit and where literacy is a commodity to be exchanged in the marketplace and individuals are mere cogs in an economic machine. Reading educators like Dudley-Marling, on the other hand, see literacy as a key to personal fulfillment and satisfaction and maintaining a participatory democracy in which the economy is shaped to the needs of citizens, not the other way around.

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