Day #4 – Introduction to the Follow Through Project

In the last post, I asked a question about what you knew about the Follow Through Project. The reason this question is important is because Project Follow Through is the single largest, longest – running study involving a half of a million American children at risk of school failure. It compared 16 different educational methods head to head over almost 20 years to see which, if any, would benefit children who were economically and/or socially deprived. It cost the American taxpayer more than 2.2 billion 1970’s U.S. dollars, showed two effective methods, and was immediately deep-sixed by the U.S. Office of Education.

Our educators and parents almost to a single person know nothing about the largest educational research study ever done. Nor are they much aware of anything about the only two effective methods emanating from that study. In short, our teachers parents and other educational stakeholders, including taxpayers are being denied the benefits of research and the effective practices that are developed from this study.

This is not unusual, the medical profession took a century to adopt the sterile technique of washing their hands between patients. It took 100 years since Semmelweis clearly demonstrated that it was a cure for “childbirth fever,” aka blood poisoning, that killed one-third of mothers entering maternity wards. His discovery flew in the face of the prevailing medical culture. The surgeons of the day rewarded this life-saving finding by driving Semmelweis out of his Vienna hospital. After a century, what we now know as “sterile technique” became mandatory practice in the health profession. Pioneers get the arrows, settlers get the land. It is no different in education.

The costs of this ignorance in both instances ,medicine and education, are staggering on every level. Ignorance is definitely not bliss with the human, economic and cultural costs.

A brief examination of the Project Follow Through results are the topic of the next post.

Day 1:

Day 2:

Day 3:

What do think about this...