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Losing Our Language: How Multiculturalism Undermines Our Children's Ability to Read, Write and Reason [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   320
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 6" Height: 9"
Weight:   1.1 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 25, 2002
Publisher   Encounter Books
ISBN  1893554481  
EAN  9781893554481  


Availability  0 units.


Item Description...
Overview
Why do American students' reading and writing test scores continue to decline? Why does the achievement gap continue to grow between minority and other students? Poor teacher training, large class size, small budgets and other such answers have been proposed for these vexing questions. But Sandra Stotsky argues that it is the incorporation of a multicultural agenda into basal readers, the primary tool for teaching reading in elementary schools, that has stunted our children's ability to read. In Losing Our Language, Stotsky shows how basal readers have been systematically "dumbed down" in an effort to raise minority students' "self esteem." While elementary readers of the past featured excerpts from classic stories such as Arabian Nights and Robinson Crusoe, with a complex vocabulary and sentence structure able to challenge the imagination and build reading skills, today's basal readers present students with politically and ethnically correct stories whose language is virtually foreign and unable to engage students. Drawing words from Swahili, Spanglish and other trendy dialects to teach students with a shrinking English vocabularly is a symptom of this intellectual and cultural disorder. In Losing Our Language, Stotsky, showcases interviews with teachers, gives an in-depth analysis of reading texts over the past thirty years, and talks about how pressure groups have affected educational publishers. In this timely work, one of those rare books able to speak equally to the concerned educators or the concerned parent, Stotsky reminds us that how successfully we teach reading is no mere academic matter. Literacy-cultural and verbal-gives all students, but particularly those from poor or minority backgrounds, personal independence and achievement and the ability to participate fully in our civic life.

Publishers Description
Why do American students' reading and writing test scores continue to decline? Why does the achievement gap continue to grow between minority and other students? Poor teacher training, large class size, small budgets and other such answers have been proposed for these vexing questions. But Sandra Stotsky argues that it is the incorporation of a multicultural agenda into basal readers, the primary tool for teaching reading in elementary schools, that has stunted our children's ability to read. In "Losing Our Language," Stotsky shows how basal readers have been systematically "dumbed down" in an effort to raise minority students' "self esteem." While elementary readers of the past featured excerpts from classic stories such as "Arabian Nights" and "Robinson Crusoe," with a complex vocabulary and sentence structure able to challenge the imagination and build reading skills, today's basal readers present students with politically and ethnically correct stories whose language is virtually foreign and unable to engage students. Drawing words from Swahili, Spanglish and other trendy dialects to teach students with a shrinking English vocabularly is a symptom of this intellectual and cultural disorder. Sandra Stotsky reminds us that how successfully we teach reading is no mere academic matter. Literacy--cultural and verbal--gives all students, but particularly those from poor or minority backgrounds, personal independence and achievement and the ability to participate fully in our civic life.


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More About Sandra Stotsky

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Sandra Stotsky currently resides in Brookline, in the state of Massachusetts.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Education > Education Theory > Contemporary Methods > Multicultural   [579  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Education > General   [33866  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Popular Culture   [2255  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Take a close look at your child's lit book  Aug 8, 2004
Is your child's school using a series of "literature" books, with each year's text containing a wide variety of stories? Well, take a close look. Take a very close look. Are those stories uplifting? Challenging? Do they introduce valuable new vocabulary and increasingly more complex writing? Or do they have startling high proportions of stories you've never heard from, from third world sources? Stotsky's book is a searing indictment of these "basal readers", and just how badly they have slipped in the last twenty years. They are softer, fluffier, and have less inspirational content than ever before. This is a very scary book, and I heartily recommended it.
 
Losing Our Children  May 2, 2003
Sandra Stotsky, a researcher at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, has for over 20 years studied the cognitive and political (she prefers "civic") consequences of contemporary educational fads, as well as their historical predecessors. Losing Our Language argues that during the past 30 years the pedagogical theories and strategies used to teach children English have harmed their cognitive development by supplanting academic goals with social goals and increasingly anti-intellectual methods and materials.

Stotsky reports that contemporary English "language arts" readers misrepresent American history by refusing to tell children about great American leaders, inventors, and scientists because they tended to be white males. Thus children are given to believe that Amelia Earhart invented the airplane, and the only "George Washington" they hear of is George Washington Carver. When presented at all, white males are portrayed as despicable racists. The focus, instead, is on American Indians, blacks, and Hispanics, all of whom are presented as victims.

The editors of these readers, and the professors of education and state education commissars whose recommendations they follow, are concerned primarily with quotas for the number of politically correct readings by writers who are black, Hispanic, Indian, disabled, and so on. The quotas and ideology leave little room for exciting, new children's literature, and since classic children's literature largely comes from the politically suspect pre-1970 "dark ages," it has practically been outlawed.

Stotsky cleverly intuits that the claim of prejudice in classic children's literature (for example, by Robert Louis Stevenson and Rudyard Kipling) is a cover story for the source of the multiculturalists' real anger: that the stories are so bloody good! The fantasy, whimsy, and relatively rich vocabulary of the great literature children have traditionally wanted to read creates a special, private world of the imagination.

Stotsky indicts multiculturalists as seeking to imprison children in a regimented, mean little public world. The preachy pseudo-literature they force on children uses vocabulary that is a mix of leaden, abstract nouns, useless foreign terms that are often presented with no guide to pronunciation; confusing pidgin languages such as "Spanglish" and "ebonics"; and little or no vocabulary that children can build on in their future studies. Thus, at ages when children's learning should be accelerated, it is actively decelerated. And instructional guides demand that teachers lead small children in discussions of grown-up concerns such as the evils of capitalism and racism.

The impoverished vocabularies are part of a war on English, which the educationists and state education officials who run the textbook-adoption process insist oppresses black and Hispanic children. Instead of improving the teaching of English for these children, the "solution" is to destroy the English language: "Self-righteous educators have chosen to take out their professed anger at this country's social problems on the English language itself. Unwilling to engage in the hard work of helping all children learn how to read and write, they have spitefully made the English language the object of their seeming frustration because it is so vulnerable, especially in its written form. What is not clear is how these educators can be held accountable for the damage their pedagogical notions are inflicting on a fundamental biological process in human development."

Stotsky observes repeatedly that no scholarship supports the multiculturalists' pedagogical claims. Influential education researchers such as Carl Grant of the University of Wisconsin and James Banks of the University of Washington constantly refer to other "research" that supposedly backs up their outlandish claims. But no such research exists. Stotsky notes that in contrast to early twentieth-century progressive pedagogues, multiculturalists consider the mere request for factual support proof of racism.

Concluding that dodges by multicultural education professors and teachers are the result of their laziness, unconscious racism, and desire to enhance their own self-esteem at children's expense, Stotsky gives parents advice on how to regain control of their children's education.

This is an exhaustively researched, rigorously argued work. However, in her insistence on maintaining a civil tone, Stotsky has avoided telling the occasionally brutal social history from which this pedagogy derived. The Black Power and New Left movements grew into the apartheid movement of multiculturalism, which mixes notions from communism, national socialism, and caste thinking. Through affirmative action and violent "community control," multiculturalists took over both university schools of education and slum-district schools. They installed incompetent professsors and often functionally illiterate school teachers based on the color of their skin and their degree of hatred, while running off competent educators of all colors. Only then did the pedagogy and teacher guides come along to rationalize the apartheid.

The truth can be a nasty business.

 
Excellent material for Parents of school aged children  Sep 3, 2002
This is high quality material, written about what is taking place in elementary schools around the United States, on the subject of reading. There is a reason why many young children are not learning how to read properly and Sandra explains it in detail.

Thank you Sandra Stotsky for bringing all of these facts and figures together in one place. This is the book I have been waiting for.

If you are a parent with children ages 4 thru 12 you need this book now, even if your child reads well. Order it today. See the many reviews under the hardcover version of the book - ISBN # 0684849615.

...

Bobzt
Engineer.

 
Intellectual Goals vs Social and Political Goals  May 27, 2001
The classics of literature have been replaced with simplistic tales that fail to develop our children's ability to read, write, or think. Intellectual goals have been displaced by social and political goals and moralizing pedagogy. Details, details, details, examples and overwhelming evidence. Stotsky sends home a strong message - education's aim should be to teach children to read from the best literature available, not from the most ethnically diverse sections we can find.
 
Institutionalized Dumbing Down  Mar 23, 2001
Many of the harmful side effects to the current multicultural trends in education have been well documented by a host of authors. While Sandra Stotsky adequately peruses the many obvious harms of this divisive fad, she is the first whom I have encountered to also zero in on a too-often overlooked impairment caused by this divisive fad-its degradation of the English language. By analyzing the basal readers offered by five publishing houses and used almost exclusively in public grammar schools, Ms. Stotsky shows how adhering to rigid multicultural dictates has yielded a body of literature that neither stimulates young vocabularies nor stresses a command of standard English. Obsessing on the sacred cow of diversity, school-age children are regularly force-fed a bland non-chronological compilation of stories designed to emphasize the victim status of various groups. The book repeatedly demonstrates that this misplaced harping on cultural identity usually assumes that "culture" equals "victim status," a weird equation that very few parents proud of their heritage would want their children to adopt.

Among the tragic side effects of multicultural agitprop is the omission of genuine heroes whose lives could truly inspire children but who satisfy nobody's agenda. In addition to the putative aversion to white males, Ms. Stotsky shows how Helen Keller fails to pass politically correct muster. On the rare occasions when she is included, her story is subjected to perverse distortions; one author described her as "proud" to be deaf. Ms. Stotsky wisely laments, "Is Helen Keller's story disappearing because it cannot be used to indict the world in which she grew up?" Shouldn't such a charge be all the more reason to include her uplifting narrative?

Ms. Stotsky wisely stresses the complete lack of any research to support the truculent claims of multicultural proponents. No studies suggest that race-based philosophies help children learn better. Forcing non-English speaking children to sit through classes in their first language has not attested to an enhanced ability to learn English. No evidences supports the vagary that class warfare and group identity tendencies increase the much ballyhooed self-esteem of minority children (or anyone else or that matter), and nothing has ever shown salutary outcomes from stressing to various children that they are victims and to others that they are oppressors. In a brave display of realism she writes, "those who stand the most to lose the most intellectually from their (diversity proponents) subconscious racism will be the children in whose names the changes in reading instruction are taking place."

Several other thoughtful dissertations have accented these separatist aspects of multiculturalists, but "Losing our Language" goes a step further and shows how the diversity craze is hostile to the English language. Much of the juvenilia offered in modern day public schools substitutes politically correct gibberish for works that could stimulate a child's vocabulary. Linguistically hybrid stories are frighteningly commonplace based on the many flaccid passages Ms. Stotsky cites. Included are stories for 4th through 6th graders that feature alarmingly high volumes of Spanish, Japanese, or Swahili words. A familiarity with even the most basic Swahili is not a terribly high requirement for most productive United States citizens, nor is this exceedingly rare dialect the first language of many children in America (or anywhere else in the world) in the twenty first century. Even when the stories avoid bilingualism, a push to use foreign proper names is utilized in these readers. She sites characters or place names like Maizon, Eliscue, Emeke, and Quito Sueno as hard to pronounce examples that children will probably never encounter outside of an agenda-heavy classroom.

This volume is a caveat that we should not let the intricate English language be supplanted by the sectoring cant of multiculturalism.

 

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