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The Lost Art of Education

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Does it bother you that schools no longer teach the basic skill of cursive writing? Did you even know (most) schools don't teach the basic skill of cursive writing?

Several months ago I handed a note to a seventeen year-old AP high school junior. She looked at the note, looked at me and said she couldn't read it. When I apologized for my less-than-stellar penmanship, she replied that that was not the problem. The problem, she said, was that she didn't know how to read cursive.

I was amazed. No, I was disturbed. I know from years of experience that students are not learning many of the basic grammar and language skills they need to be fully functional. And by functional, I mean can exist without a phone in their hand that is smarter than they are.

I am also bothered by the fact that the requirements for high school graduation vary tremendously from state to state. The following website, which lists each state's requirements proves that the major emphasis is on math and science. Now while math and science are definitely important, not every career will require you to use trig and calculus and AP chemistry. But you can bet your bottom dollar (whatever that means) that you will have to be able to spell and write no matter what you do.

I lived this with my youngest daughter who was a student at the high school in Rolla, MO. The state of MO requires three math credits for graduation but none of those can be obtained through general or consumer-type math classes. It's all geared toward advanced and scientific-type math...with the exception of a drafting class for those who can't cut it in the other classes.

Well, my daughter is bright and intelligent. She had a 3.6 GPA with the exception of her math. She simply couldn't do it. She had a mental block as big as the Panama Canal when it came to math. We were both a bit worried about how she would graduate with these requirements. She didn't want to waste three hours of her day in a drafting class. Our solution? She took online high school credits through a prestigious university which would also accept the credits she already had from RHS. The result...she took two years of school in one and graduated a year early with three math credits she could use and a GPA of 3.7.

I tell you this because it is time to quit trying to force children to become something they are not. While it's true we need scientists and engineers, that's not all we need and it's time we recognize that there are merits to teaching our children the lost art of grammar, punctuation and what/when D-Day is and the reason for Memorial Day. In other words, let's give our children a well-rounded education and quit making students who wish to pursue other careers feel second-rate.

Come on US DEPT. of EDUCATION...get with it!