Greetings, Carol Hunter, Executive Des Moines Register Editor, Legislature Education Committees and all—

This is a two part post in response to Ms. Hunter’s editorial, that asked for input, farther below.  

Part 1 is superior educator Dr. Sue Atkinson’s response to Ms. Hunter’s Sunday, 4-23-17, 730 word editorial that recognized the failure of last summer’s $9 million reading program and then blasted legislators for stopping its wasted funding.  The Register’s editorial staff chronically refuses to publish Dr. Sue’s guest columns explaining how and why public education abuses, discriminates and fails to meet Iowa students’ education needs, despite billions in wasted, increased funding--the Register  endorsed.

Part 2 shows why Ms. Hunter is a teen mind development victim of the public education system on which she blindly wants to waste more funding, no matter what.  She can’t connect the dots, and it isn’t her fault!


As usual, the Register editorial shows the failure to understand education – likely accounting for their failure to accurately report on it.

The summer reading program was proposed by educators from failed teacher training programs, using failed education theories, who falsely believed just reading more would improve proficiency.  Only 25% of Iowa’s teacher training programs include all five reading concepts known as the science of reading – according to the National Council on Teacher Quality – and these programs are failing to train teachers to effectively teach the concepts that are included. 

WHAT THE LEGISLATION HAS DONE is put the responsibility for reading in the hands of the Reading Research Center – after the failed teacher training programs have shown a complete inability to improve (according to the December 2016 report from the NCTQ).  At least the Reading Research Center is actually showing some ideas for improving teaching methods.  WHAT THE READING RESEARCH CENTER IS COMPLETELY FAILING TO DO is recognize the failure of the phonics program – WHICH IS THE SOURCE OF THE READING PROBLEMS IN THE FIRST PLACE!

Even Deborah Reed does not know phonics rules should include all letters and combination of letters used in the English language – that used to be part of phonics until phonics was removed from the curriculum in the late 1950s and early 1960s in Iowa (to be replaced later by a dysfunctional system with incomplete rules that made memorization of whole words necessary and left out some learning styles).  Today’s educators are so damaged by their own bad education and training in phonics they fail to realize a good system was actually in place decades ago.

I, personally, have used this old system to bring my grandson’s reading up to grade level after even the AEA recognized that memorization was failing to do the job of developing proficiency (and Special Ed AND SUMMER READING PROGRAMS both failed to improve the problem because both continued to use the same failed phonics).

Stopping the funding of the summer reading program should force Iowa’s failed educators to learn not only improved teaching methods during the school year to better educate BUT ALSO recognize the failure of the phonics program they have been using that is the source of the reading proficiency problem in the first place.

Sue Atkinson, PhD

P. O. Box 301

Baxter IA 50028



Ms. Hunter knows from Iowalive’s emails and website posting, explaining how and why Governor Vilsack and Department of Education Director, Judy Jeffrey, adopted the lowest student proficiency standard in the Midwest, and Iowa schools can’t meet it and seek waivers from it.   She ignores it and the 75 year education chart as if she doesn’t understand them.  



Ms. Hunter has received, and is well aware of, Iowalive’s Teen Mind Development Chart, which has now been updated below to include school dropouts etc., since their numbers are so high.   And Iowalive understands Ms. Hunter is about 60 and graduated from high school about 1975.  Those in journalism (J ) school are not well known for being the best and brightest. And because Ms. Hunter blasted legislators for stopping a failed reading program, from the chart it is estimated public schools developed her mind to about the 65% level, which is not her fault!!!  And despite it, she holds the Executive Editors position at the Register—as the best candidate available for the position. 



Anyone claiming to have better numbers is asked to provide them.  No one has refuted Iowalive’s Teen Mind Development Charts, to date.

Contributors to teen mind development will be posted at a later date. 

In closing, Ms. Hunter is well aware that Des Moines is among the worst performing school districts in the state.  It’s plight is posted here:


Carol Hunter is the Register’s executive editor. She wants to hear from you with questions, story ideas or concerns. Contact her at 515-284-8545, or on Twitter, @carolhunter.


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