Difference between revisions of "Mystery:Why is Phonics Taught in the UK but not the US?"

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Revision as of 21:07, 10 May 2008

Same language, same heritage: the U.K. and the U.S. would presumably settle on the same optimal way to teach children how to read English. While the U.K. has chosen phonics for its obvious benefits, the U.S. public schools typically do not use real phonics. Why?

One reason may be the different political incentives in the two countries. In the U.S., a struggling Democratic Party relies heavily on support from illiterate voters to win. The teachers' union is overwhelmingly Democratic, and they have a strong political incentive not to increase literacy.

That is not true, or not as true, in the U.K. The Labour Party is not struggling and does not fear losing power, and does not have as tight a grip over education as the Democratic Party holds in the U.S. Also, the Labour Party is not as dependent on illiteracy to win elections in the U.K.