For years, nothing seemed capable of turning around New Dorp High School’s dismal performance—not firing bad teachers, not flashy education technology, not after-school programs. So, faced with closure, the school’s principal went all-in on a very specific curriculum reform, placing an overwhelming focus on teaching the basics of analytic writing, every day, in virtually every class. What followed was an extraordinary blossoming of student potential, across nearly every subject—one that has made New Dorp a model for educational reform.
Tye discusses the shift from structured, step-by-step writing instruction to a focus on creativity that has occurred in recent decades in public schools. This rings true for me - I remember clearly an emphasis on creativity and sometimes a lack of detail in the grammar side during elementary school. Furthermore, I remember later on covering grammar in my AP English class in high school and struggling with it.
As an avid reader, writing was a joy for me and I loved to write short stories for my parents and teachers. But the article makes a good point: if I hadn’t loved reading, understanding complex sentence structures would not have come easily, and my teachers may not have been much help.
Writing education must find a balance between creativity and structure - the solution is somewhere in the middle.