1st Edition

Whose Knowledge Counts in Government Literacy Policies? Why Expertise Matters

    237 Pages
    by Routledge

    238 Pages
    by Routledge

    Accountability, in the form of standardized test scores, is built into many government literacy policies, with severe consequences for schools and districts that fail to meet ever-increasing performance levels. The key question this book addresses is whose knowledge is considered in framing government literacy policies? The intent is to raise awareness of the degree to which expertise is being ignored on a worldwide level and pseudo-science is becoming the basis for literacy policies and laws. The authors, all leading researchers from the U.S., U.K., Scotland, France, and Germany, have a wide range of views but share in common a deep concern about the lack of respect for knowledge among policy makers. Each author comes to the common subject of this volume from the vantage point of his or her major interests, ranging from an exposition of what should be the best knowledge utilized in an aspect of literacy education policy, to how political decisions are impacting literacy policy, to laying out the history of events in their own country. Collectively they offer a critical analysis of the condition of literacy education past and present and suggest alternative courses of action for the future.


    Foreword: Joel Spring


    Chapter 1: Introduction: Knowledge, Evidence, and Faith: How the Federal Government Used Science to Take Over Public Schools, Robert Calfee

    Part 1: The Political Realties

    Chapter 2: Whose Knowledge Counts? The Pedagogy of the Absurd, Kenneth S. Goodman

    Chapter 3: Re-reading Poverty; Reorienting Educational Policy, Patrick Shannon

    Chapter 4: Neoliberal and Neoconservative Literacy Education Policies in Contemporary France, Jacques Fijalkow

    Chapter 5: Flying Blind: Government Policy on the Teaching of Reading in England and Research on Effective Literacy Education, Henrietta Dombey

    Chapter 6: Whose Knowledge Counts, For Whom, In What Circumstances?:  The Ethical Constraints on Who Decides, Sue Ellis

    Chapter 7: About the Dubious Role of Phonological Awareness in the Discussion of Literacy Policies, Renate Valtin

    Part 2: Aspects of  Literacy: The Knowledge Base

    Chapter 8: The Role of Story and Literature in a World of Tests and Standards, Kathy G. Short

    Chapter 9: The Staircase Curriculum: Whole-School Collaboration to Improve Literacy Achievement, Kathryn H. Au and Taffy E. Raphael

    Chapter 10: Diversity in Children's Literature: What Does It Matter in Today's Educational Climate? Rudine Sims Bishop 

    Chapter 11: Examining Three Assumptions about Text Complexity: Standard 10 of the Common Core State Standards, Elfrieda H. Hiebert and Katie Van Sluys
    Chapter 12: The Role of Literature and Literary Reasoning in English Language Arts and English Classrooms, Judith A. Langer

    Chapter 13: Writing Teachers: The Roles Exploration, Evaluation, and Time Play in Their Lives, Jane Hansen

    Chapter 14: What Do Children Need to Succeed in Early Literacy—And Beyond? William H. Teale, Jessica L. Hoffman, and Kathleen A. Paciga

    Chapter 15: The Impact of Changing Conceptions of Language on Curriculum and Instruction of Literacy and the Language Arts, David Bloome and Melissa Wilson,

    Comments: Nu!....  So!... Where do We Go from Here? Yetta M. Goodman

    List of Contributors


    Kenneth S. Goodman is Professor Emeritus, Language, Reading and Culture, University of Arizona, USA.

    Robert C. Calfee is Professor Emeritus, Stanford University School of Education, USA.

    Yetta  M. Goodman is Regents Professor Emerita, Language, Reading and Culture, University of Arizona, USA.

    "Curriculum and policy are informed by assumptions about what counts as knowledge, grounded in notions of human nature, and affected by determinations about whose knowledge counts in the construction and delivery of knowledge in formal educational settings. The diversity of ideas offered within the book affords the reader a rich opportunity to consider foundational issues of policy and practice. Summing up: Recommended. All readership levels." - J.A. Helfer, Illinois State Board of Education, in CHOICE, August 2014

    "Part II explores many important aspects of literacy teaching, including the curriculum, text complexity, the role of children’s literature, diversity in children’s literature and the roles of writing teachers." - Margaret Clark, Newman University - Birmingham, Education Journal

    “Finally! A book that offers smart thinking about federal literacy education policies by the professionals who know literacy best….  This book connects the dots between current literacy policies, who is writing those policies, and what ultimately happens when the policies are implemented in school classrooms.  These international scholars provide glimpses of parallel events happening around the world, beg us to question why knowledge about literacy research is being ignored, and challenge us to consider who really gains when “science” is valued over knowledge.” - Renita Schmidt, The University of Iowa, USA

    "A thorough critique of government literacy policies ... Whose Knowledge Counts not only confirms the need for policy makers to work with literacy experts, but from a larger perspective, it re-emphasizes the need for families, educators, scholars, researchers, and policy makers to work in tandem to bring meaningful change that keeps the focus on the betterment of all human beings." - Teachers College Record