Hear ye, hear ye! The 2009 award for the most Stupid Educational Fad goes to… all schools where spelling is no longer being taught; with special “Fickle Finger of Failure” prizes to administrators, school boards, state school boards, departments of education, and all others who believe that teachers should officially “stop teaching spelling”… as if trashing of the last vestige of actual academic instruction in America should be celebrated.
I suggest that in the last 50 years, American public schools have not taught enough spelling to even make a “stoppage” worthy of media coverage. Instead of making announcements, these criminals should sign confessions down at their local police departments. Frankly, schools have long been attempting to hide their educational crimes of omission, and of teacher inefficiency, by forcing students to memorize lists of spelling words for Friday tests.
The schools should put an end to the counterproductive foolishness that passes for “reading instruction” and use their time instead to only teach spelling. My mother (who taught school until she was 72-years-old) is accurate when she states that “those children, who do learn to read in today’s schools, learn in spite of the instruction.” Nothing else accounts for the few children who escape, actually literate, from the ever-deepening rot that has taken over academics in this nation. Massachusetts had a literacy rate of 98 percent until … they opened public schools. Their literacy rates have been in freefall since then, and the other 49 states blindly leaped for the band wagon … but to their academic deaths, as well.
Teacher-training (LOL) professors; school administrators; local school boards; state school boards; state and federal Departments of Education, I need your attention. The language of America — English, for those who have forgotten — is written in a CODE and the only way to learn how to read and write anything written in that CODE is to first learn how to SPELL. Musical performers and creators learn to read and write the Code in which music is written. Dancers and choreographers learn to read and write the Code in which movement can be recorded. Stenographers used to learn to read and write shorthand notation which also is a Code. When schools lost the teachers who understood the importance of, and how to teach spelling — real education came to a standstill. Schools no longer are capable of teaching students how to Encode, or how to Decode, the Code In Which English is Recorded.
A moment, please, to defend young teachers because they have lost out twice — once in the K-12 schools of their youth, and again with the nothingness that they learned in teacher-training programs. They paid tuition to be trained as effective teachers. (Can anyone imagine an accountant who cannot account receiving a college degree?) Unfortunately, college professors are usually so busy theorizing or developing new fads to foist upon the mis-education culture, that they have little to teach; and almost no focus from which to teach. Furthermore, they have little-to-no effective teaching experience of their own because, frankly, teachers learn more in the first three to five years of teaching than they get taught to their students. To “train” future teachers, one only is expected to have a research Ph.D. and 3—4 years of teaching. (Remember, those first teaching years are only partially effective.)
For teachers who have taught more than five ineffective years but still carry on as usual; refusing to acknowledge and learn missing skills; ignoring blatant failure and suffering students — shame on you. There are libraries. There is the Internet. There is Spalding International. There are my articles. There is no excuse for stubbornness and laziness. Such teachers spend their days NOT teaching children to read, spell, and learn, but happily collect unearned paychecks and ask for raises. They are destroying lives with each day of fraudulent instruction.
Our jails and prisons are filled with 1st—3rd grade readers. Our welfare rolls are filled with the same. How can we expect adults to be fully self-sufficient and lead families with wisdom, in a technical culture, if our schools cannot and will not teach them to read, write, spell, and learn knowledge? If America’s educational mess is not cleaned up ASAP, there will be no future for our nation; for our people; for our Rights and Freedoms. We must start changing local policies today. My mission is to teach Michigan to read; to again retake the leadership position that it held back when I was in school in the Sixties; back when Michigan and California led the nation. Please join me.
Linda Schrock Taylor [send her mail] is a retired special education teacher; a reading specialist; former homeschooling parent; and outspoken constitutionalist. She is slowly writing her first book on remediating reading skills.