I’ve been debating about creating a new blog entitled, “The Weakly Writing News.” Several years ago, a fun paper, “The Weekly World News,” could be found right beside People, Us, and the beef jerky at your local grocery store. The paper ran crazy, fun, bizarre stories, e.g. “I Gave Birth to Bigfoot’s Baby,” or “Elvis is Alive and Well and Living on the Dark Side of the Moon,” singing Comfortably Numb, no doubt. My thinking was to submit for my reader’s enjoyment, or dismay, samples of current writing of college students. I would then submit samples once per week, hence weak writing weekly. I’m just not sure in what order to arrange “weakly” and “writing,” as most permutations seem appropriate. Maybe “The Weakly Writing Weekly”…
College writing is abominable. By my estimates about 15% of college students are close to illiterate. These students could not write a ransom note intelligent enough for the FBI to figure out the demands and the hostages would die simply due to the ineptness of the hostage-takers to create a meaningful note. If I were a bank teller and one of the 15% passed me a note, I would correct his/her grammar and tell them to come back with a properly written hold-up note and maybe I might give them some money.
The writing of most college students is a crime. Seriously. By my estimates about 70% of college students can put words on paper but spend little time editing, thinking, drafting, rewriting, composing, spell-checking, and re-writing. Words are typed into some app. What are those green squiggly lines? And, these red underscores? I’m not sure what these little things mean but I’m just going to ignore them. If these 70% would simply spend some time and edit, and think, and draft, and organize these 70% would see their grades improve for a single course. Furthermore, the student would see her overall grades improve, culminating in a higher G.P.A. by devoting more time to thinking first, writing second. However, some portion of the 70% would rather spend more time reading the instruction manual for Call of Duty, or reading through gamer forums for playing World of Warcraft, than spend on an activity which will improve the course of their overall life.
The remaining 15% need some coaching to be improved writers. People love to begin sentences with demonstrative pronouns. High school students should never be allowed to use demonstrative pronouns. Never. Force students to write without them. The new pathways the brain will create to develop alternate sentences without the crutch of pronouns will improve cognitive ability by orders of magnitude. I tell the 15%, “Never begin a sentence with a pronoun, especially a demonstrative pronoun. You write well. Now, take your writing to the next level.”
Why do I say “crime?” Our local property taxes are invested locally to support local schools. When I don’t get what I pay for at Burger King, I go back and get what I paid for. We, as a population, spend more effort getting our order fixed at McDonald’s or Fazoli’s than we spend getting our money’s worth from our local schools. Additionally, we allow people to administer our state schools who institute ridiculous and bizarre policies and practices. For example, I learn only last night (February 22nd, 2013) grammar and punctuation is the last element of writing assessed. Little importance is placed on teaching grammatical rules. Context is more important than content. To me, assessing for context is like training engineers to simply “build something” without regards to structural integrity or even aesthetics. Advocating such a practice is tantamount to malpractice and criminal negligence of the training of our youth, and in a larger sense, defrauding U.S. taxpayers of returns in the best investment a country can make in its own population.
By the way, I am not advocating homeschooling, “unschooling,” or school vouchers. Homeschooling is great for some families. “Unschooling” seems like an excuse to never go to school. School vouchers is merely a Band-Aid to allow people to skirt around public schools using U.S. taxpayer dollars without really addressing the larger concern of repairing a flawed educational system.
I am also not advocating local school board control of educational content. I have little faith in a community’s ability to make good decisions about appropriate content. Too many school boards want Intelligent Design or Creationism taught as a Science. Intelligent Design (ID) and Creationism are not sciences but philosophies, and should be taught in a Comparative Religion class or philosophy course. Too many school boards and schools hire teachers who don’t believe in Evolution and are completely dismissive of Science. Like the saying goes, “you are entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.”
Educational policies at the local, state, and Federal level have diluted the United States educational system. Partly to blame are the National Education Association and teacher’s unions who protect teachers who have no business in the Discipline of Education and the field of teaching.
Because, if we don’t take action to fix our Educational System, we will continue to allow people to enter our labor force believing the follow efforts are acceptable:
On the definition of Inherited Culture (by the way, the definition cannot be used in its own definition. Using the words of a term in its own definition is called circular reasoning and is an error in logic):
“It is when you inherit a certain ritual or celebration from whatever culture you are a part of.”
“customs you have inherited as part of your home culture.”
“Inherited culture explains that all culture is learned; none is inherited. And it is passed on from one generation to the next. ”
“While culture is learned, an inherited culture is something that is passed on. While a culture as a whole my have one trait (being human), an inherited culture can set a person apart from the group such as being male versus female.”
“is when one culture is under rule of another and they start to use same cultural proccesses“
All grammar has been preserved. The above examples are the worse offenders, though most all responses received suffered from circular reasoning. However, while some responses suffered from errors in logic, enough was written to correct the error. More examples of our K-12 educational system will appear in the future, maybe next Friday, in the next installment of the Weakly Writing News.