This issue's Speaking Out article makes the case that education reform swings back and forth between different goals, failing to improve academic achievement.

In “Stop the Pendulum," author Lee Jenkins points out that reading instruction really only has three approaches.

“The problem is that we haven’t reached the goal of 100 percent of students achieving reading profi­ciency," he writes. "It is not a question of which program or which of the three approaches has the highest rate of success but of how we can come closer to 100 percent reading attainment.”

Jenkins maintains that this approach of educational reform applies to all subjects. Radical changes shift focus from one instructional strategy to another without ever reaching the goals they set out to achieve. Background knowledge and performance are prioritized over each other depending on what the curriculum currently emphasizes. He points out though that this is “rather absurd, since educators are responsible for students learning both.”

Jenkins concludes that incremental changes at schools are the key to improving our students’ education, not dramatic fluctuations in education. Do you think educational reform should be more incremental?

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