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Letter to the Editor: Ellaville Mayor David Theiss – 12-17-16

I must reply to the column in the Americus Times Recorder Dec 14 by Dick Yarbrough. I too have the utmost respect for teachers as I have a child who is one of the best teachers there is and even planned to become a teacher myself until I entered the Education Department of an otherwise fine university. In that Department where any idea whether logical, factual, or downright stupid is received as a “good point”, I was discouraged from taking up the profession. I quickly realized that teaching methods that had worked for hundreds of years were disposed of in favor of “new, improved, politically correct” methods that have failed miserably.
Mr. Yarbrough states that his teachers taught him to “spell; to add and subtract; to not only write a declarative sentence, but to diagram it as well….”  And then: “I am trying to understand what has changed from those ancient times until today…?” I can tell you what has changed. First our professional Doctors of Education have changed the way we teach reading, resulting in an epidemic of illiteracy and dyslexia! I contend that a child who cannot read is seriously crippled in all aspects of learning. Our United States of America was 99% literate when Thomas Jefferson was President, without public schools and compulsory school attendance laws. Children were required to know how to read before they entered school! Since then we have been duped into leaving that to the professionals!
There is a much better method of teaching reading than “Whole word, or guessing or learning like the deaf” it is called intensive phonics! The average child enters Kindergarten with a verbal vocabulary of thousands of words. The first few years of school they are taught to “read” only a few hundred words, with intensive phonics their entire vocabulary is available to them for reading. I thank the Lord that my mother taught me phonics before I had to go to school and endure the “Dick and Jane, see Spot run. Run, run, run” boredom! If you want to give teachers a break or gift, let them teach children to read and count before they try to teach illiterate children other things.
I would highly recommend to Mr. Yarbrough the books “The Closing of the American Mind” by Allan Bloom and “Crimes of the Educators” by Samuel Blumenfeld and Alex Newman. Mr Yarbrough seems genuinely concerned with education and has a platform to influence many powers that be. These books will shine a powerful light on his well-intentioned questions.

Mayor David Theiss
Ellaville