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Grizzly Mama

There's a Grizzly who has escaped the City of Brotherly Love..(and she's going back to homeschooling!!)

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Location: Out of Philly, Pennsylvania, United States

"All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth." Aristotle - Greek Philosopher.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Academics KO Grammar Again

Malcolm A. Kline writes for CampusReportOnline, and is featured on FrontPageMag. Here is the article in full - with what I thought were the most interesting parts in bold.

The academic left has painted itself into a peculiar corner. They urge the rejection of traditional grammar as chauvinistic, or, more frequently, “hegemonic.” Unfortunately for them, they eventually have to read papers by students who have previously been taught by teachers who also share this outlook.
One of the seminal texts that promotes the “grammar is dead” thesis is Preparing to Teach Writing by James Williams. “Ironically, the third edition of Williams’ book Preparing to Teach Writing appeared in 2003, the same year the National Commission on Writing made public its discovery that ‘Recent analyses indicate that more than 50 percent of first-year college students are unable to produce papers that are relatively free of language errors,’” retired English professor Nan Martin points out in a paper recently published by the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Reform. “Perhaps in response to the Commission’s disturbing disclosure, the section on usage in the [National Council of Teachers of English] NCTE’s 2004 report relents somewhat, admitting that ‘Writers need an image in their minds of conventional grammar, spelling, and punctuation.’”

“Just how they are to come by this image isn’t made clear,
but the NCTE still contends that ‘conventions of writing are best taught in the context of writing,’ not by ‘completing workbook or online exercises.’”

Ms. Martin taught writing at Meredith College in Raleigh for two and a half decades. In her study, English 101: Prologue to Literacy or Postmodern Moonshine?, she looked primarily at two North Carolina colleges.

“From my conversations with senior faculty at both North Carolina State and UNC, I learned the following,” she reports. “The new English 101 is a continuation of the ‘disastrous’ public school trend to have students work in groups.”

“The new English 101 continues the public school trend to go easy on grammar gaffes, so enrollees in upper level classes have ‘startling’ problems with correctness.”
She means linguistically, not politically.

New Jersey widower Van-Ness Crawford is going to court to bring attention to the failures of that state’s public schools. “Not only for his family.” The New York Post’s Andrea Peyser reports, “But for more than 60,000 students—the vast majority of them poor and minority—attending 95 rotten Jersey schools, the worst of which have failure rates of 87 percent in standardized English tests. And a 90 percent failure rate in math.” “He is the lead plaintiff in a groundbreaking lawsuit filed yesterday [July 13th] in Newark against the New Jersey education department.”

“It seeks a remedy that makes the educrats—who’ve ruled the schools for decades too long—absolutely insane. Crawford wants to take the $16,351 in taxpayer dollars that are squandered each year in the name of educating each of his kids, and use the money for a private school.”

For its part, the ACT [America College Testing] surveyed college composition teachers and found that they place a premium on correct language usage. But those professors, even if they are grammatically dedicated, do not usually write the textbooks or design the composition courses that students in American colleges and universities are forced to use.

When we covered the Modern Language Association’s annual convention, we attended about half a dozen panels on composition and language. Despite its name, these few were about all of the hundreds offered at the annual conclave on the subject that would seem to be central to the MLA’s mission.

Thousands of English professors attend the event, leaving most colleges and universities in America represented there. The six composition and/or language séances, in turn, featured only a dozen or so professors and panelists from across the country.

Of these, one third had written widely-used textbooks on composition and language, and another professor/participant edits a journal on rhetoric and composition. That would be Deborah Holdstein of Northern Illinois University. “Holdstein, of Oak Park, has been active for many years in the Conference on College Composition and Communication, a national organization that supports and promotes teaching and scholarship in the study of writing,” according to the university web site. “She is a member of the organization’s executive committee and, in 2004, was appointed editor of its flagship journal.”

“She also served a 4-year term on the publications committee of the Modern Language Association.” Overwhelmingly, Dr. Holdstein and her colleagues were actively hostile to the idea of reviving the teaching of grammar and determined to resist its comeback.

Perhaps that university degree that many of us want for the kiddies isn't such a good idea? It looks as though we may have to homeschool them through college as well!



Blogger NotClauswitz said...

Good-grief, the balkanization of English grammar. What a bunch of pointy-headed nincompoops.

20 July, 2006 12:51  
Blogger Grizzly Mama said...

Good grief is right dirtcrashr.

These are the 'experts' you see. They know better than the silly parents...

20 July, 2006 23:49  
Blogger Gayle said...

Hi Monica. Sorry I haven't been by sooner. I took three days off from blogging because my eldest daughter was visiting.

This article is excellent; it's good to see that people are wising up. I believe it's deliberate; the "dumming down" of American citizens by socialist moonbats. Ignorant and illiterate people are much easier to control.

I saw this back in the 70's when my husband was in Vietnam. We were living in Lompoc, CA. The school decided to do away with the tried-and-true method of teaching kids how to spell phonetically. They were using straight memorization. I don't think anyone can memorize how every word in the English language is spelled! So I taught my children phonetics at home, and they caught on right away!

I raised my granddaughter and she graduated high school this year. They never taught her how to write in cursive. It seems that cursive is felt to no longer be important because of computers, so they let the students print everything they had to write by hand! It just goes on and on! I'm disgusted with the public education system in this country and with the colleges. My granddaughter will attend a technical college specializing in graphic arts.

Sorry to be so lengthy; the subject of your post is obviously one of my pet peeves!

I see you have some other posts I haven't seen, so I'll check them out. :)

21 July, 2006 08:55  
Blogger Grizzly Mama said...

Gayle - thanks for coming to visit and commenting. I agree that public education is a disaster and it seems that there is a deliberate attempt to dumb down American kids. More and more parents are wising up to it and understanding that they have choices. There is a lot of negativity about homeschoolers out there and I encounter it almost every day when I speak to people who are curious about home educating. We have to face the fact that WE as parents are responsible for our children's education, it's going to fall upon us to do the job anyway - so why deal with that whacky public school hierarchy with all of it's incompetence and insanity???

I know (from the neighborhood kids) that they aren't teaching them cursive. I was shocked. We use 'handwriting without tears' and the girls love it and love the cursive. The neighborhood kids didn't know what to make of the girls' writing book and how they are shown how to form the letters. I asked them, 'How do you know how to write in cursive if no one shows you how to do it?" The reply - "We just figure it out ourselves or ask our parents." So. There ya go.

There is a school district in the 'burbs of Philly - I think it's Rose Tree SD - but they have used phonics all along while all other districts changed from this to that and back again. Rose Tree kids are doing great in the standardized testing - do you think the other districts would get a clue?

I am glad you took some time to visit with your daughter and congratulations to you granddaughter for graduating. Take good care Gayle and thanks again for visiting!

22 July, 2006 00:23  
Blogger C R Mountjoy - GDF said...

Well, it's also happening in my Church. We left one Church that was gender-cleansing scripture. Can you believe that?

Take Matthew 22 and gender-cleanse it. Now how does it read/sound.


26 July, 2006 17:04  
Blogger DigitalSpy said...

I have actually seen (though I cannot really go into it without giving away to much information that would expose my ID) samples of educational text where punctuation is practically non existent due it not being 'necessary' for future educational purposes.
You probably think I am talking out of my arse but I assure you this is true and for someone involved in the .edu field quite horrifying.

26 July, 2006 21:05  
Blogger DigitalSpy said...

I forgot to add a very important link regarding education in the US (homeschoolers should keep on homeschooling if they want kids that aren't Borg).
Here's the link
Intellectual Espionage by J T Gatto

26 July, 2006 21:08  
Blogger Grizzly Mama said...

Yes Mountjoy - Morons indeed. Thank goodness you have the sense to discern what they are doing and get away from it.

Thank you Digital Spy and I do not believe you are talking out of your arse at all. I will check your link out. It is quite horrifying and what kills me is that parents see how dysfunctional the public school system is yet continue to send their kids into it every day. All in the name of 'socialization'. Several parents I know have almost taken the plunge in the direction of doing something different for their kids but have been stopped due to pressure from other parents or family. It's too bad.

26 July, 2006 23:37  
Blogger Grizzly Mama said...

I just looked through that link DS. Thank you so much - it is fascinating and I recommend it. In fact - when I get a moment I will do an entry on it. Thanks again.

26 July, 2006 23:45  
Blogger DigitalSpy said...

Gatto won NY teacher of the year (several times I believe) and used an acceptance speech to resign stating that he refused to continue damaging childrens minds.

27 July, 2006 20:08  
Blogger Grizzly Mama said...


28 July, 2006 01:38  

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