The Subject Matters
This chapter focuses on teaching the academic subjects and describes the debates that swirl around progressive teachers like Kimberly Min. Debates arouse the public's interests, passions, and fears about how schooling portrays society and how society might be changed by what schools teach. State legislatures and local school boards often select traditional texts to ensure that teachers teach reading and writing comprehensively, competently, and uniformly. In the early 1980s, the Second International Study of Science and Mathematics Education rocked the math education community and the public. The math and science communities responded to the apparent deficiencies in American mathematics instruction. Progressives worry that a narrow focus on skills causes students to miss the essence of literacy—the pleasure and power of expressing and understanding ideas. Decades of research on learning provides language arts teachers with overwhelming evidence that all students come to school with experiences that prepare them for full adult literacy.