In this post from the National Education Policy Center, you can see a long list of recent articles about the “reading wars,” which was spurred by a broadcast and article by Emily Hanford, complaining that students can’t read because teachers fail to teach phonics, which she says, is based on science.

When I saw Hanford’s article in the New York Times, making that claim, I reacted with a big “Ho hum, here we go again.” I wrote about the reading wars in my book “Left Back” in 2000. I thought that Jeanne Chall’s classic “Learning to Read: The Great Debate” (1967) had settled the matter. Yet here we are in 2018, Long after Rudolf Flesch’s “Why Johnny Can’t Read,” debating the same issues that gripped education researchers 70 years ago.

NEPC posts an interview with Elizabeth Moje, dean of the University of Michigan Education School, that has one stellar feature. Whenever she is asked to examine a claim about what “most teachers” are doing, she stops the conversation to say that no she ne knows what “most teachers” are doing.

I appreciate her care.

We have known for a long time that phonics must be a part of early instruction in reading. We also know that phonics only is not sufficient.

At a time when awareness is breaking through that our schools are underfunded, we have serious teacher shortages due to low pay, and class sizes in the Neediest districts are ballooning, let’s not get distracted by a phony war.