Sunday, May 06, 2007

SRA/McGraw-Hill Plays Both Sides!

SRA/McGraw-Hill Announces New Research-Based Elementary Reading & Language Arts Program: Imagine It!

"The new core Pre-K-6 reading and language arts curriculum from leading elementary educational publisher SRA/McGraw-Hill gives teachers everything needed to inform instruction and reach all students."
SRA, the same people who distribute Direct Instruction, now have a new curriculum.

"SRA's Imagine It! helps students develop the skills to think and investigate the answers to their own questions. The Concept/Question Board is used throughout each unit to keep students exploring and finding new dimensions to the unit theme. The strong Inquiry strand contains built-in tools in every unit that promote curiosity, investigation, and higher-order thinking. Each unit begins with student-led discussions that prompt questions and areas of investigation about the unit theme."
It seems like SRA wants to go after the "inquiry" crowd. I know SRA is in the business to make money, but doesn't it seem like they are sort of like arms dealers who sell weapons to both the rebels and the government that they are fighting?

I mean after all, on the same website that they are promoting a program that uses a "strong Inquiry strand", they also have this brochure (pdf), that states:

Before creating any Direct Instruction program, the authors carefully analyze the skills and strategies that must be taught. Every part of a Direct Instruction program is based upon solid research on how children learn and is validated in classrooms. The programs are written by the Direct Instruction authors to:
• Present tasks clearly in a way that allows students to understand concepts the first time they are introduced
• Present new material in small increments to help students achieve mastery
• Select examples and put them in a logical sequence
• Provide opportunities for guided practice and cumulative review
• Incorporate continuous assessment and management
Now of course, perhaps Imagine It!, is nothing more than a scientifically based program dressed up to satisfy all "whole language" and "Inquiry Learning" crowd, but it certainly confused me.

Perhaps they are banking on the pro-DI crowd getting booted due to the Reading First scandal, figured they would be replaced with a more "progressive" leaning crew, and had to come up with a different program to make money.