Apparently, That’s in Question
Take a moment, close your eyes and imagine the future, 50 years from today.
Each of you likely imagined something different, but I’m guessing that none of you imagined a world where people can barely spell by modern standards. Sadly, this is where we, as a society, are headed; a world where people can speak English, but cannot write it, except for maybe English as a second language students.
Public educators have apparently determined that, because computers rule our everyday lives, children do not need to learn proper spelling, have a focus on grammar, or learn cursive writing. Cursive is one thing, but forgoing proper spelling and grammar!? I can’t remember how many times I’ve forgotten how a word is spelled, only to have spellcheck come up short (thanks a lot, spellcheck!). My saving grace is that eventually my brain starts working and I can figure out my own error, but what if you have no idea how to spell the word at all? Or how to use the word in its proper context?
If you have children in public school, then you already know that kids no longer have spelling tests. I wanted to understand more about why this decision was made, and found nothing substantial to suggest that removing spelling from the curriculum was a good idea.
The first site that came up in a Google search suggests that: “…Schools should stop providing lessons in spelling and grammar because children can correct linguistic errors on their mobile phones, according to a leading academic.”(Telegraph.co.uk, 2013).
There are also numerous sites with articles claiming that spelling tests don’t help kids spell. I suppose if I just toss a sheet of words at a kid and say “memorize these!”, then that would be true, but spelling proficiency is so much more than just memorization! English is a concept that, at the elementary level, should define the structure of words, and sounds of words, as well as the spelling of words and how they are used (remember Hooked on Phonics). Add spelling to English lessons, and children receive a rounded approach to words and grammar, not just a spelling list to memorize.
Traditional English language education has produced millions of literate, competent individuals. Spelling is an essential part of that learning, and one that conveys a level of intelligence immediately. As an adult, in order to be taken seriously, you must know how to spell.
The idea that teaching proper English can be largely ignored because we have computers is ridiculous, and our children will be the ones who suffer.
My fear is that, in the future, social segregation will occur between those who have been educated in the public system, and those that have been educated in alternative schools, such as private, parochial, and charter schools. We’ve always had multiple schooling options; however, the divide in the quality of education offered is growing.
Our household is a blended family, and because of that, I currently have one child in private school, and one in public. My extended family includes 4 children in charter school (which follows the public-school policy for English), so in all, there are three kids in Grade 2, and three in Grade 6. My child in grade 2 spells, reads, and writes at a higher level than all of her cousins in Grade 6. When the older kids realize this, it creates insecurity and the feeling that they are not as smart, or competent, but that’s not true at all! There seems to be this idea that kids will catch up, and learn as they go, but at what point will that occur?
In recent news, it has been suggested that the NDP may try to deny or remove accreditation for private institutions and schools. I believe that I should have the right to choose the type of education that my child deserves. If you would like to support the choice of education, please add your name to this petition:
Erin Mulligan, 2017 – Published first on LinkedIn
Edited by Matthew Thomas