I had a comment today on a post from last April called New Literacy, in which I wrote about a news article that quoted an educator named Maria Corkern. The comment was from Ms. Corkern herself. It makes some important points:
First of all, let me say that some of you who have responded to the original question of why I didn’t have links to back up my opinions were correct…it is not my position when being interviewed to insert this information. None of my interviewers, from coast to coast, has asked for the information. Second, most people listening to radio are in their cars and not able to remember links to websites. I’m lucky if they remember the name of my book! Last, I would assume you are educated and resourceful enough to research the topic if you needed to.
That is all very true. And I must say that my original concern was not so much with Ms. Corkern’s statements as with the article that seemed to think it was OK to just say something without offering any proof. It was not meant as an attack on Ms. Corkern or her ideas. I apologize to her if it seemed that way. My commentary was not really about her as much as about what I think it means to be literate.
That being said, I did appreciate the fact that in her comment Ms. Corkern included links to some of the research on the subject of vocabulary. Unfortunately, most of the links didn’t lead me anywhere. The pages had been moved or the site couldn’t be found or something else was wrong. But she shared the name of Ruby Payne as a researcher in the area.
So I looked around to see what I could learn about Dr. Payne. I read a lot of articles about her. Dangerously Irrelevant blogged about her. The New York Times Magazine wrote about her. Larry Ferlazzo wrote about her. The Journal of Educational Controversy wrote about her. (They even had lots of references. Good for me and my idea of literacy!) A student teacher wrote about her in a blog on the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel online. I am obviously very, very late to the discussion of Ruby Payne. And it isn’t even a discussion I really want to get involved in. Others have talked about her enough, I think.
So there you have it.
But back to my original argument, I still think it is a part of literacy to check out the sources, the evidence. If a source doesn’t give me that option, I am not going to waste my time.