The Lady Speaks

Jenn’s Sunday Sermon – Education Edition

Why the hell can’t American children write intelligently in their native language? I just saw an article somewhere (sorry, lost the link) that said some schools are thinking of allowing kids to write composition papers and essays in “IM language.”

Say what?! That’s like saying, “We’re now allowing students to submit papers in pig-Latin.”

I’d be willing to bet that everyone over the age of 30 or so (and very few under 30) remembers when you wrote something every single day of every single week, either in class or as a homework assignment. Usually in 2nd or 3rd grades, possibly as late as 4th, you first learned to write by copying paragraphs from the blackboard.

Then you were assigned “topics.” “Write two paragraphs about Halloween.” “Write a story using as many spelling words as possible.” “Write a letter to the President.” (My favorite along this line was one of my oldest’s son’s 5th grade assignments: “Write a letter home as if you were a crewman on one of Christopher Columbus’ ships.” My son wrote a pessimistic four-paragraph letter about the horrors of the sea and concluded “I think we’re all going to die.”)

There were also book reports, spelling assignments (where you had to use the each word in a written sentence) and the ubiquitous “How I Spent My Summer/Christmas/Easter Vacation.”

Each year the writing assignments got bigger and bigger, until teachers started freaking us out with assignments like “Write a 1000-word essay on the fall of the Roman Empire.” (And back in the day, we didn’t have word processors or computers to tell us how many words we’d written. No, we had to write it out in long-hand and count each word. It never failed that just as you got up somewhere in the 800’s, your sister would come in and ask, “What’s 6 times 12?” and you had to start all over.)

Nowadays, we have all this emphasis on reading and math grades and testing, our kids are writing little or nothing, and people are somehow surprised to find that most high school graduates can’t manage to fill out a job application?!

Kids can’t write a decent essay, so the answer is to allow them to write in gibberish? Brilliant.


September 2, 2007 - Posted by | Education, Family

1 Comment »

  1. We attended a college entrance seminar a few weeks ago.
    One area they emphasized was that future employers would expect a college grad to be able to write complete sentences, and if you are a Jr or Sr, you had better work on that. How does one get to be a Jr or Sr in High School, and not write complete sentences? Now we understance.
    Dumb them down educators…Dumb them down.
    Used to be the teachers were the smartest people in town. With improved education that changed. So, how do they become the smartest people in town, by not expecting their students to surpass them.
    We had an employee, who holds a degree in English. He could not write a single, coherent sentence. How did he get that degree.
    Those educators are all sitting around LOL at us.

    Comment by mom | September 2, 2007 | Reply

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