Open Letter: Education Week’s Coverage of the Life, Career, and Death of Ken Goodman

The May 21, 2020 article in Education Week by Stephen Sawchuk fails to honor the remarkable life and career of Ken Goodman on the occasion of his death. Instead, the publication has used this significant loss to the field of literacy as well as the Goodman family and friends for yet another opportunity to perpetuate the misleading narrative about the “science of reading.”

While Ken Goodman spent his life and career dedicated to reading and literacy, leaving behind a legacy of wide-reaching influence through his scholarship and embodying an ethic of kindness and inquiry, the selective use of interviews and incomplete references to research in the EdWeek article construct a distorted and tarnished image of a powerful voice in the field of education.

There is ample room for scholarly debate and disagreement in the complex and still evolving understanding of how children learn to read; however, EdWeek has chosen a solemn moment to continue a single-minded and misguided refrain about the “science of reading”—at the expense of the dignity and respect many know Ken and his family deserve.

Those signed below find the EdWeek coverage both insensitive to Ken and his family, and harmful to the field of literacy and reading.

This is a new low in EdWeek’s role as a high-profile voice in education. By mis-serving Ken and the field of literacy and reading, EdWeek has further eroded the publication’s credibility.


Shira Adler
MFA, Founder & CEO Synergy

Richard Allington
Professor Emeritus
University of Tennessee

Marcia Baxter
Literacy Coach Columbia, SC

Laurey Brevig Almirall, EdD
Third grade teacher, Port Washington School District

Delisa Alsup Ed.S
Reading and Literacy Leadership
Instructional Coach

Bess Altwerger
Professor Emerita
Towson University
Former School Board Member, Howard County, MD

Nancy Bailey, Ph.D.
Education Blogger

Kylene Beers, Ed.D.
Literacy specialist and educational consultant
Past-president National Council of Teachers of English;
Recipient of the CEL Leadership Award

Carrie Birmingham
Associate Professor of Education
Pepperdine University

Susi Bostock, Ed.D.
Elementary Education
Half Hollow Hills School District, NY

Dorey Brandt-Finell, Family Advocate and Educational Specialist
David Finell, Principal (retired)

Lois Bridges Ph.D.

C. Garth Brooks,
British Columbia Literacy Council of the ILA
Executive Director, LEADER Special Interest Group of the ILA

Sally Brown, Ph.D.
Professor of Literacy Education
Reading Program Director
Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading
Georgia Southern University

Charlotte A. Butler, MAELT
P-20 Literacy Coordinator (retired)

Lucy Calkins
Richard Robinson Professor of Children’s Literature at Teachers College, Columbia University
Founding Director of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project

Professor Brian Cambourne, B.A. Litt.B (Hons), Ph.D A.M
Principal Fellow University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia

Cecilia Candreva, Ed.D.
Retired Elementary Principal
Franklin Square School District, NY

Rose Anne Casement
Professor Emerita
University of Michigan-Flint

Erika Strauss Chavarria
Spanish Teacher, Howard County MD

Linda Christensen
Director, Oregon Writing Project
Lewis & Clark College
Editor, Rethinking Schools
Editor Rethinking School

Ruby Clayton, Teacher
Indianapolis Public Schools

Gerald Coles,
Education Researcher
Reading the Naked Truth: Literacy Legislation & Lies (Heinemann)

Nancy Creech, Ed.D.
Elementary Teacher & Reading Specialist, Retired

Caryl Crowell, M.Ed, Ed.S.
Retired, Tucson Unified School District

Paul Crowley, PhD
Professor Emeritus
Sonoma State University
Rohnert Park, CA

Joan Czapalay,
Teacher, Educator (Nova Scotia, MSVU)
Parent and Grandparent

Diane DeFord
Professor Emerita and Endowed Professor
University of South Carolina

Benjamin Doxtdator
English Teacher, Education Writer

Corydon Doyle, Ph.D.
English Teacher Mount Sinai UFSD
Adjunct Professor Long Island University

Amy J. Dray
Program Officer
Spencer Foundation

Katie Dredger
Associate Professor
James Madison University

Peter Duckett, PhD
Bahrain Bayan
Kingdom of Bahrain

Carole Edelsky, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita
Arizona State University

Eric W. Eye, M.A.
HS ELA teacher

Amy Seely Flint
University of Louisville

Barbara Flores, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita
CSU, San Bernardino

Jennifer Flores
Tucson TAWL

Susan Florio-Ruane Ed.D.
Professor Emerita
College of Education
Michigan State University

Alan Flurkey
Professor, Literacy Studies
Department Chair, Specialized Programs in Education
Hofstra University

Salli Forbes, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita and Reading Recovery Trainer
The University of Northern Iowa

David E. Freeman, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus
The University of Texas Río Grande Valley

Yvonne S. Freeman, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita
The University of Texas Río Grande Valley

Peter H. Fries
Professor emeritus
Central Michigan University

Stefanie Fuhr, MEd

Janet S. Gaffney
Professor, University of Auckland
Professor Emerita, University of Illinois

Andrea Garcia, Ph.D.
Literacy Educator, Mexico

Suzanne Gespass

Carol Gilles, Associate Professor of Reading/Language Arts, Emerita
University of Missouri, Columbia

Debra Goodman
Professor, Hofstra University
President, Center for Expansion of Language and Thinking

Wendy J Trachtman Goodman, MA ED
36 year veteran classroom teacher

Vera Goodman
Teacher and Reading Expert
Creator of The Making Sense Approach to Reading
Calgary, Alberta

Yetta Goodman, Regents Professor Emerita
University of Arizona, College of Education

Helmuth Leal Guatemalan
professional in tourism and activist in improving the techniques of teaching in Guatemala

Kris Gutierrez, University of California, Berkeley

Xenia Hadjioannou, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Language and Literacy Education
Penn State Harrisburg

Sue Haynes, M.S. ed, M.ed, Literacy Specialist
Author of Creative Mavericks: Beacons of Authentic Learning

Dr. Roxanne Henkin
Professor Emeritus
The University of Texas at San Antonio
Past President
Literacies & Languages for All
Director Emeritus
San Antonio Writing Project

Kathleen A. Hinchman, Professor
School of Education
Syracuse University

Jim Horn, PhD
Professor, Cambridge College

Dr. Mary Howard
Literacy Consultant and Author

Liz Hynes-Musnisky, Ph.D.,
Associate Professor, Department of Critical Reading
Nassau Community College

Ana Christina da Silva Iddings
Professor, Vanderbilt University

Lori Jackson,
Reading Interventionist and Coach

Debra Jacobson

Rosemarie A. Jensen, M.Ed.
UF ProTeach Grad

Bobbi Jentes-Mason, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita
Teacher Education

Nancy J. Johnson, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus
Western Washington University
Bellingham, WA

Katie Kelly, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Education
Coordinator of Literacy Graduate Program Furman University

Gary Kilarr
Center for the Expansion of Language and Thinking

Dorothy F. King

Brian Kissel, Ph.D.

Dr. Dick Koblitz
Adjunct Professor at Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri and Saint Louis University
Literacy Consultant

Alfie Kohn
author and lecturer / Belmont, MA

Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus
University of Southern California

Lorraine Krause
Retired teacher
Peter Krause
Retired Superintendent of Schools

Tasha Laman

Lester Laminack
Children’s Author
Professor Emeritus Western Carolina University

Christine Leland​
Professor Emerita, Indiana University, Indianapolis

Mitzi Lewison
School of Education
Indiana University

Georgia Leyden, MA in Education, Reading and Language
Retired first grade teacher
Retired lecturer, School of Education, Sonoma State University

Calvin A. Luker
Respect ABILITY Law Center
Co-founder, Our Children Left Behind

Elizabeth Lynch, Ed.D.,
retired elementary school teacher, Brentwood UFSD, NY,
former Adjunct Associate Professor, Dowling College, NY,
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Hofstra University

Gina Margiotta, NBCT

Prisca Martens
Ray Martens

Carmen M. Martínez-Roldán
Associate Professor & Program Director Bilingual Bicultural Education,
Teachers College, Columbia University

Stephanie L. McAndrews

Becky McCraw
Goucher Elementary
Cherokee County Schools

J. Cynthia McDermott

Dr. Theresa McGinnis
Associate Professor, Literacy Studies
Hofstra University

Jeff McQuillan
Independent Researcher

Rick Meyer
Regents’ Professor Emeritus
University of New Mexico

Alexandra Miletta
Ed Blogger

Heidi Mills
Distinguished Professor Emerita
University of South Carolina

Kathryn Mitchell Pierce
Saint Louis University

Luis Moll
Emeritus Professor, University of Arizona
Reading Hall of Fame

Maureen Arnold Morrissey, M.ED.
37 year veteran teacher

Liz Murray, Ed D.

Michele Myers
Clinical Associate Professor
University of South Carolina

Jennifer Ochoa
8th grade English Teacher

Susan Ohanian
Fellow, National Education Policy Center

Mike Oliver, principal
Zaharis Elementary, Mesa Public Schools
“Zaharis Elementary School is standing on the shoulders of Ken Goodman.”

Richard C. Owen, Publisher
Richard C. Owen Publishers, Inc.

Celia Oyler
Professor, Teachers College, Columbia University

Glennellen Pace, PhD, Associate Professor Emerita
Lewis & Clark College Graduate School of Professional Studies
Portland, OR

Karen V. Packard, Ed.D
Retired teacher educator, Title 1 director, reading/language arts specialist and classroom teacher

Johnna Paraiso, EdD
Rutherford County Schools, ESL/ Adult Literacy Educator
Education Professor, Tennessee State University

Nancy Paterson, PhD
Associate Professor (Retired) Literacy Studies
College of Education, Grand Valley State University
Former Chair Middle Section, NCTE

Patricia Paugh
Associate Professor
University of Massachusetts Boston

P. David Pearson
Evelyn Lois Corey Emeritus Professor of Instructional Science
Graduate School of Education
University of California, Berkeley

Erica Ann Pecorale

Ann Peluso
Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction (Retired)
West Hempstead School District, NY

Kathleen O’Brien Ramirez, PhD
Universal Multilingual Literacy

Patricia Reed-Meehan, Ed.D.
Literacy Teacher, NYC Department of Education
Adjunct Professor, EECE Queens College

Louann Reid, PhD
Professor of English Education
Chair Department of English
Colorado State University

Lynne Hebert Remson, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-F
Speech-Language Pathologist
Small Talk Speech and Language Specialists

Victoria J. Risko
Professor Emerita
Vanderbilt University

Laura Roop, Director
Western Pennsylvania Writing Project
University of Pittsburgh

Elisabeth Costa Saliani, Ph.D.
William Floyd UFSD
20 year teacher of Elementary ENL

Lenny Sánchez
Faculty, Language and Literacy Education
co-Director, Bilingualism Matters @ UofSC
co-Editor, Literacy Research: Theory, Method, and Practice

Sherry Sanden, Ph.D., NBCT alum
Interim Associate Director
Associate Professor, Early Childhood Literacy

Ronda Schlumbohm, M.Ed Reading
Grade 2, Salcha Elementary

Renita Schmidt
Associate Professor Emeritus
University of Iowa

Jean Schroeder

David Schultz, EdD, Retired
Long Island University Riverhead
Mattituck-Cutchogue School District

Sara H. Somerall

Louise Sweeney Shaw, Ed.D.
Associate Professor, Curriculum and Learning
Southern Connecticut State University

Nancy Rankie Shelton, PhD
Professor, UMBC, Literacy Education

Ira Shor
Professor Emeritus
City University of NY Graduate Center

Marjorie Siegel,
Professor, Teachers College, Columbia University

Flory Simon U of A Retired
Co-Director Southern Arizona Writing Project

Yvonne Siu-Runyan, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita, The University of Northern Colorado
Past President, National Council Teachers of English
Boulder, CO

Tracy L. Smiles, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita, Western Oregon University

Melinda Smith, MAEd
Elementary Teacher
Manhasset UFSD, NY

Patricia G Smith Ph.D.,retired
Federation University
Victoria, Australia

Ellen Spitler, PhD
Associate Professor
Metropolitan State University of Denver

Diane Stephens
Professor Emerita
University of South Carolina

Charlotte H. Stocek, Ph.D.

Steven L. Strauss, MD, PhD
Baltimore, Md

Denny Taylor
Distinguished Alumni, Columbia University
Distinguished Scholar, NCRLL
Inducted (2004) Reading Hall of Fame
Founder of Garn Press

Monica Taylor, PhD
Professor, Department of Educational Foundations
Montclair State University

P.L. Thomas, EdD
Professor of Education
Furman University
NCTE’s 2013 George Orwell Award winner

Serena Troiani Ph.D.
Elementary school teacher Port Washington UFSD, NY
Adjunct Assistant Professor Queens College, NY

Dr Jan Turbill FACE
University of Wollongong

Dr. Jesse P. Turner
Central Connecticut State University

Ruth J. Sáez Vega
Universidad de Puerto Rico
San Juan, Puerto Rico

Meghan Valerio, M.Ed.
Doctoral Student & Graduate Assistant
Curriculum and Instruction, Emphasis in Literacy
Kent State University

Elisa Waingort
Classroom Teacher
Calgary, Alberta

Judy M. Wallis, Ed.D.
Literacy Author and Consultant
Former Director of Language Arts

Russ Walsh
Adjunct Instructor, Graduate Education
Rider University

Yang Wang
Assistant Professor in Language and Literacy
University of South Carolina

Lois Weiner, Ed.D.
Professor Emerita, NJCU

Steve Wellinski
Associate Professor of Reading Education
Eastern Michigan University

Darlene Westfall, M.ED.
Special Education Teacher

Kathryn F Whitmore, PhD
Professor and Department Chair
Metropolitan State University of Denver
And PROUD student of Dr Kenneth S Goodman

Carolynn E. Wilcox, English Teacher,
Early College of Arvada and Affiliate Professor,
Department of English,
Metropolitan State University of Denver

Jeffery L Williams
Past-President of Reading Recovery Council of North America
K-12 Literacy Coach and Teacher Leader

Joan Wink, Professor Emerita
California State University, Stanislaus

Thomas DeVere Wolsey, EdD
Graduate School of Education
The American University in Cairo


Policy Statement on the “Science of Reading”

What Every Parent Should Know about Kenneth S. Goodman