Up North Progressive recently had the distinction of being featured on Diane Ravitch’s blog this week. The Steve Ingersoll trial received much deserved national exposure when two teachers’ accounts of their experiences working for Dr. Ingersoll, published on this blog, was quoted by MSU Music Education Professor, Dr. Mitchell Robinson. More people need to know the state of for-profit charter schools in Michigan, their lack of oversight from authorizers, and the continued operation of poor-performing “schools” receiving our tax funds.
The comments on Ravitch’s blog were especially revealing. One commenter has experience with the machine Ingersoll used at LDA to test students’ eye movements and prescribe Integrated Visual Learning:
Back in 1968, I was a reading specialist who worked in a federally funded project. We were “encouraged” to use this same tracking approach. It was called a Controlled Reader. There were probably 1,000-2000 kids we serviced. Everyone had to use these machines for part of their instruction. At the end of the project, reading eye cameras were used to track the eye movements as children read texts. The result of this research study was that there was no significant difference between groups who used the machines and a control group.
If only it were possible to discover if Dr. Ingersoll’s controlled reader machine was from the 1960’s.
It’s important to bring up IVL again because this week during the ongoing trial in Bay City, Ingersoll’s ‘innovative’ curriculum came up after reading Cole Waterman and Miss Fortune’s most recent accounts of the ongoing proceedings. The Smart Schools model was brought up by prosecution and defense.
During the hearing, the government argued that the efficacy of the curriculum—that is, the successes of the Smart Schools model—was irrelevant to the charges in the indictment. Defense counsel for Steven Ingersoll claimed that the information may be “relevant to his state of mind but that the issue of relevancy should be determined during the trial”. Ludington agreed, noting that a relevancy determination would depend on the factual situation presented at trial.
It appears that IVL may be used as part of the defense to prove that Ingersoll’s vision therapy has beneficial results; that his claims of curing 90% of children with ADHD attending his school were so successful, that they were taken off Ritalin. What evidence can the defense provide to prove IVL’s success? The only study available to the public is the 20 year old “Brighton Study” which has never been peer reviewed and as far as anyone knows, has never been independently researched to find if the initial results were even accurate. Of the people so far willing to disclose their observations about IVL in Ingersoll’s schools, they were unimpressed, never saw anyone cured, or found their children’s academic achievement falling behind their peers in public schools. This has never stopped Ingersoll from claiming that IVL is superior to current, research-based Special Education programs used in schools nationwide today.
The large gains made by the IVL and syntonics combined group may indicate a dramatic new avenue to be used as a special education intervention.
In actuality, Ingersoll and his IVL partner, Dr. Mark Noss believe IVL should replace Special Education. From what limited access to IVL is available, and from what those who have experience with it have said, it’s doubtful Ingersoll’s brand of vision therapy can claim to be very successful.
Using the efficacy of Steve Ingersoll’s curriculum to prove he’s not a fraud will be entertaining at least. Thank you, Judge Ludington for allowing the defense to present this incredible evidence. More on the trial will be posted here when available.