The other day an old school friend had his 4th grade daughter read to him because he wanted to see how she was coming along. As she breezed through pages in the book, he noticed that she was adding words, and changing meaning to sentences without batting an eye. He slowed her down, and went through the book page by page with her so she could get the real meaning behind the writing. Later, he discovered that students today are being forced by their teachers to read quickly. Why? Apparently so they can score higher on the standardized tests kids have to take each year. Hmm…how the hell can a kid be expected to do well and comprehend the meaning of anything if they are being taught to skip over and change what is already in front of them?
About a month ago at work another friend mentioned that in the public school systems today, they aren’t really teaching grade school students cursive. Hearing this, I made sure to ask my best friend who is a middle school math teacher if this was true. He confirmed it – apparently cursive writing is going the way of the Dodo, and for what reason? No good one comes to mind.
While my school friend was not happy about the way his daughter was being taught to read, the other friend didn’t mind his child not learning cursive. That kind of shocked me, as when we sign documents or dear Lord, write a check – isn’t cursive the standard way of going about this? I know computers allow for people to electronically sign documents, but should that be the norm? Will the adults of tomorrow be signing documents by printing their names? They might as well use crayons if that’s the case.
By now I am sure most of us have seen the picture going around the internet of a check written for the amount of “Six hunnit fiddy,” (If not - see picture above). Do we really want to dumb down the school systems to the point where this maybe becomes the norm? If a person were to write me a check for the amount “Six hunnit fiddy,” it wouldn’t be accepted.
When my girlfriend and I went to Block Island this past August, we met a young man named “Eli.” Now, his name probably isn’t Eli, but since to me, the younger Manning brother looks about three Saturdays short of a full month, and the kid we met had that same look, he is Eli for this. Anyways, we met Eli parking for the Block Island Ferry in RI. As Eli took my $20 bill and went to give me a $10 bill back, he couldn’t quite get a good grasp on money, to which he explained, “My hands are a little sticky from this doughnut, it must be from all the Confederate sugar on it.” Now, I didn’t say anything to Eli – I wanted my vehicle to be where I left it when we returned in the afternoon and in one piece. As we walked to the ferry, my girlfriend asked me if I caught what Eli threw, to which I replied, “Some things in life escape me; that did not.”
“Six hunnit fiddy,” and “Confederate sugar.” This is the what is coming out of our schools and instead of giving a shit, parents are more concerned that some of the schools out there are trying to serve its’ students healthier lunches, (which is a topic for another day but spoiler alert: it’s good schools are doing that), rather than what their kids are being taught and how they are being taught it. And that's sad.
What I think is the biggest problem, are the standardized tests. Teachers today, due to laws like “No Child Left Behind,” are being taught to teach to the tests, not teach their students, and in doing so, what is being learned is so watered down that people actually think it is okay to write a check for “Six hunnit fiddy,” and that confectioners’ sugar is “Confederate sugar.”