Readability

The Great Co-op(ted) Farms

[cap­tion id=“attachment_99333” align=“aligncenter” width=“300”] This is your child’s mind on pub­lic education.[/caption]

by baldilocks

Fill­ing in for Fausta. She will return in the sec­ond week of August.

Writer Sarah Hoyt expounds on edu­ca­tion – and mise­d­u­ca­tion – in a great series of essays, Teach Your Chil­dren Well.

From the first essay:

My son in third grade was assigned to do an essay on “My best friend.” He proudly showed me a para­graph. And I hit the roof.

The sen­tences – as far as I could tell through the hor­ri­ble spelling – were ungram­mat­i­cal and inco­her­ent. There was no thought pro­gres­sion, noth­ing the reader could fol­low. It was as though he thought if he included “my best friend” in every sen­tence it would work, even if it was “my best friend is rocket fire.” It read like absur­dist poetry. And it was maybe all of 300 words.

I thought, “He’s ill. He’s hav­ing a bad day.” So we went into his book bag (my son hates the very con­cept of lock­ers. Still does) and looked at his graded essays. They were all As. They were all hor­ri­ble. The teacher rou­tinely gushed about his writ­ing in parent-​teacher con­fer­ences. I later had rea­son to real­ize that the fact he could write at all, with words and every­thing, as his younger brother would say, was amaz­ing to his teachers.

Which didn’t make any of this bet­ter. Fur­ther inquiry elicited infor­ma­tion that they weren’t actu­ally teach­ing spelling or gram­mar or any of that stuff because it was bet­ter if the stu­dents picked it up “organ­i­cally” because it encour­aged “self-​expression.”

Of course, what it mostly encour­aged was incoherence.

So I dug out my books on “Eng­lish for For­eign Learn­ers.” I fig­ured by then it was what my poor child had become. I started assign­ing him gram­mar exer­cises and spelling lists (they actu­ally intro­duced these in fourth grade, prob­a­bly because of par­ent rebel­lion. They were mostly puerile words the kids should have known). When he got home from school, there was work to do. He got pub­lished pro­fes­sion­ally at thir­teen. And he can write with verve, flu­ency, and coher­ence, as can his brother.

Hoyt’s chil­dren are blessed to have a mother who cares about true lit­er­acy, but it seems to me that peo­ple like her, even non-​writers, existed in greater abun­dance 30 or more years ago than they do now. (I was taught to read, write, and com­pute — before Kinder­garten — by my first cus­to­dial par­ents, my great-​aunt and great-​uncle: a beau­ti­cian and a city employee, respec­tively. Both had high school diplo­mas earned dur­ing the hey­day of seg­re­gated pub­lic schools.)

The rea­sons for the dearth should be obvi­ous: the male­d­u­ca­tion of Amer­i­can chil­dren began at least two gen­er­a­tions ago. Today, many of those who are par­ents and grand­par­ents are unable to grasp the impor­tance of true lit­er­acy, much less pass it on to their prog­eny. But those who are able need to pay atten­tion to the chaos being inten­tion­ally inserted into the minds of their chil­dren. If you don’t plant your form of order into those minds, gov­ern­ment schools will plant their form. We’ve seen these weeds all around us for decades.

Read the entire series.

And read Peter’s post.

Juli­ette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was pub­lished in 2012. Her sec­ond novel ten­ta­tively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Fol­low her on Twit­ter and on Gab​.ai.

Please con­tribute to Juliette’s JOB: Her new novel, her blog, her Inter­net to keep the lat­ter going and COF­FEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Inde­pen­dent Journalism!

This is your child’s mind on public education.

by baldilocks

Filling in for Fausta. She will return in the second week of August.

Writer Sarah Hoyt expounds on education – and miseducation – in a great series of essays, Teach Your Children Well.

From the first essay:

My son in third grade was assigned to do an essay on “My best friend.” He proudly showed me a paragraph. And I hit the roof.

The sentences – as far as I could tell through the horrible spelling – were ungrammatical and incoherent. There was no thought progression, nothing the reader could follow. It was as though he thought if he included “my best friend” in every sentence it would work, even if it was “my best friend is rocket fire.” It read like absurdist poetry. And it was maybe all of 300 words.

I thought, “He’s ill. He’s having a bad day.” So we went into his book bag (my son hates the very concept of lockers. Still does) and looked at his graded essays. They were all As.  They were all horrible. The teacher routinely gushed about his writing in parent-teacher conferences. I later had reason to realize that the fact he could write at all, with words and everything, as his younger brother would say, was amazing to his teachers.

Which didn’t make any of this better. Further inquiry elicited information that they weren’t actually teaching spelling or grammar or any of that stuff because it was better if the students picked it up “organically” because it encouraged “self-expression.”

Of course, what it mostly encouraged was incoherence.

So I dug out my books on “English for Foreign Learners.” I figured by then it was what my poor child had become. I started assigning him grammar exercises and spelling lists (they actually introduced these in fourth grade, probably because of parent rebellion. They were mostly puerile words the kids should have known). When he got home from school, there was work to do.  He got published professionally at thirteen. And he can write with verve, fluency, and coherence, as can his brother.

Hoyt’s children are blessed to have a mother who cares about true literacy, but it seems to me that people like her, even non-writers, existed in greater abundance 30 or more years ago than they do now. (I was taught to read, write, and compute — before Kindergarten — by my first custodial parents, my great-aunt and great-uncle: a beautician and a city employee, respectively. Both had high school diplomas earned during the heyday of segregated public schools.)

The reasons for the dearth should be obvious: the maleducation of American children began at least two generations ago. Today, many of those who are parents and grandparents are unable to grasp the importance of true literacy, much less pass it on to their progeny. But those who are able need to pay attention to the chaos being intentionally inserted into the minds of their children. If you don’t plant your form of order into those minds, government schools will plant their form. We’ve seen these weeds all around us for decades.

Read the entire series.

And read Peter’s post.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!