Should We End Educational Isolation?

When I was young I got help in my class work. Some students didn’t get the help I got. Everyone got some help, but not everyone got the help I got. And the difference was that the help I got worked for me. I learned, overcame a struggle, lifted myself up through learning. But I had help.


With only 35% of fourth graders reading on grade level, they have learned to read. But who is helping the other two-thirds of readers? What help do they get? I know that school systems work on this problem, sometimes labeling their help as tier 1, 2, or 3, to indicate the level of interventional help they are providing. Students are identified as needing this help and are assigned instructional classwork that should help them. Most of this classwork is assigned to them in isolation, sometimes they must get it during class but in their own groups, and sometimes they must get this help after school or instead of getting the arts or sports.

But it Has Not Helped them

So why have we not improved the reading ability of the nation’s children in many years? Why has this disparity continued? Why have we not labeled this a crisis and invented something like the Manhattan Project to fix it? Why? It must be related to how we intervene in the students who are not succeeding….and one obvious characteristic of that help is our separating them out from other learners. They should be learning to read together so they can prosper together. They need to see others struggle and they could be helped by others to succeed.

Disrupt Inequality

We must work on our nation’s health by disrupting its inequality. If only a few of us succeed and the rest live in fear, education could be one strong strategy to reduce that fear and increase happiness through collective, collaborative productivity. Reading is the fundamental skill to disrupt inequality. Learning to read is fundamental because then we can use reading to learn, understanding together how the world works, and we can prosper together. We need our country to learn together so that we can prosper together. Woke.

Dr. Robert A. Southworth, Jr.

Dr. Robert A. Southworth, Jr.

Share this article:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More from EdSpeak

Discover the tools and strategies modern schools need to help their students grow.

Community Schools Reform

As a seasoned researcher of K-12 public schools and someone dedicated to improving the quality, equity, and creativity in education, I wholeheartedly support the proposal

Read More »

Subscribe to EdSpeak!

The SchoolWorks Lab Blog, connecting teaching to policy through research.