At a cost of over a billion dollars, [Follow Through] demonstrated that one instruction method, “Distar,” clearly outperformed 21 others. Distar was #1 not just overall, but in each of the subcategories of reading, arithmetic, spelling and language. It placed a close second in promoting advanced conceptual skills, and was even the most effective at boosting students’ self-esteem and responsibility toward their work. Nothing else came close.
So, Coulson asks, "What happened?" He points out that American public schools did not follow through on Follow Through. Distar was not widely adopted around the nation. Moreover, most of the schools that had adopted it in these early days have since abandoned it. Their performance plummeted as a consequence. "End of story," Coulson says.
Coulson contends that the reason that public schools didn't follow through on Follow Through is the absence of private enterprise, competition, and pluralism in K-12 education. In contrast, E.D. Hirsch Jr. would say that the reason is the pervasive "thought world" of Progressive education in K-12, a thought world that abhors Distar teaching methods.