Volunteers, teachers, and evidence-based instruction

Over on WrightsLaw, Sue Whitney (one of the folks affiliated with Pete and Pam Wright) use this headline for a story: “Parent Volunteers are NOT a Substitute for Trained Teachers: New DOE Regulations Released.” Ms. Whitney’s got the right idea in that headline, but I’d like to shade it just a bit.

Please permit me to amplify. Parent volunteers are not a substitute for trained teachers, but trained teachers are not a substitute for people using scientifically validated instructional programs faithfully. So, if I was given a choice between a parent volunteer who, with fidelity to the training, is implementing a good curriculum and a teacher who’s doing the hit-or-miss method (such as apparently passes for training in reading instruction in many of the US teacher education colleges), I’d go for the parent volunteer.

Link to Ms. Whitney’s brief piece.

1 Response to “Volunteers, teachers, and evidence-based instruction”


  • Who is going to monitor the quality of instruction regularly and systematically, regardless if it is given by a certified teacher or instructional assistant or well-trained parent volunteer? All instructors needs on-going feedback on instruction, especially when the fidelity of implementation can mean different things to different people.
    Kimy Liu,

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