Thank you, thank you, for putting it together. I'm a high school English Teahcer in a the city but I work in a K-12. i'm terrified by the changes, the the dubious pedagogy, I see in the elementary level. I read Taub's August 2nd article and loved it. In fact, the Times printed a letter of mine about that article. Here is the text of it (they may have edited it a little, I don't remember:
"The city’s emphasies on self-directed reading and writing programs may be more damaging than we think. We read in order to broaden our experience as well as to deepen it. Self directed programs, however, emphasize personal experience over content, and children who learn to read and write through such programs can rapidly come to assume that their own experiences are much more valid and interesting than anyone else’s. By the time such children reach high school, the only books that interest them are books about teenagers in high school, and by the time they vote, I suspect they vote their own interests before the common good.
It may be true, as ……says that “not all children need phonics.” What they do need, however, is an understading that there something else besides their friends, their pets, and their trips to Disny World."