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Flying Fox AKA Ted L Glines

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Member Since: Dec, 2006

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Blogs by Flying Fox AKA Ted L Glines

Reading, 'Riting, & 'Rithmetic
1/18/2009 2:36:25 AM    [ Flag as Inappropriate ]

This blog is simply my uncanny grasp of the obvious noticing that we have a problem. But it begs the question -- what are we going to do about it?
Working nights, I caught Al Sharpton on CNN on Sunday (way early) morning, where he commented about kids not knowing how to read and write. As a trend of declination, this is so true. Good comment. But there are some other trends causing this.
 
Writing: Cursive handwriting is now mostly obsolete except for signing credit card authorizations and documents, and these signatures are speedily being replaced by "electronic signatures." As of right now, only aged people do any amount of handwriting. As they die off, handwriting will die with them. Recently on blogs and in the news, we have seen teachers calling for an end to the teaching of cursive handwriting because mainstream people in America are no longer using this skill. I am 68 years old and I have beautiful handwriting, but I very seldom use it. Keyboards, large and small, have now replaced the pencil and pen.
 
Reading:  I asked my sister about this. She has recently retired from a 36-year career as a K-12 teacher/librarian in New Jersey. She has watched the usage of her libraries declining for years, especially during the past 15 years. DVDs and Websites, Chat Rooms, Blogs, and Message Forums, have replaced the reading of books. When I was a young man, every person's home seemed to have a shelf of books, something seldom seen in homes today. We are told that the American average reading level is declining. It was at "8th grade average" reading level in the late 1980s. My sister adds that "No Child Left Behind" has damaged teaching abilities in the classrooms. At the same time as students have become great little test-takers, they have not been learning the basics.
 
Sharpton could have added arithmetic to his comments. I have two young front desk clerks, both of them high school graduates, and neither one of them is capable of adding or subtracting on paper using a pencil or pen. Give them a calculator, and they do fine. Doing manual basic arithmetic is beyond them. We will pray that their batteries will never fail.
 
We have major issues in American education today. The key issue is that American parents do not push their children into a need for learning. The opposite is true in China and in India, where children are driven to learn and excel. On our college and university level, we see American students seeking degrees in business and the liberal arts; avoiding degree studies in science, medicine, and technology. So, we have a decline in technology graduates in a time when corporate technical people are retiring, leaving important vacancies which must be filled ... by graduate students from India and China. It strikes me that we are building our own problem.


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More Blogs by Flying Fox AKA Ted L Glines
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