One of the amazing things about our education system is that large numbers of students no longer learn basic things, so we often hear complaints that college grads can’t do simple math, can’t understand easy documents, and can’t write clearly. The problems start early and lots of students never catch up. (The main reason, I believe, is that many educators now think it’s more important for students to “be creative” and not oppressed with fuddy-duddy old rules about right and wrong ways of doing things.)
In today’s Pope Center piece, writing professor John Maguire examines the last problem I mentioned above — that students can’t write decently. He explains that they are not taught well in their earlier years, largely due to the malign influence of educationist theories that have emanated from the ed schools (in particular, Teachers College at Columbia). They don’t learn sentence grammar. Nevertheless, students graduate from high school under the impression that they are good writers since they’ve been given high grades for their creativity. As Maguire writes, this faddish method “cheat everyone through its rigid insistence that expressiveness is all that matters, and the skills in the basics of capitalization and periods don’t matter.”
It used to be that teachers in grade school drilled writing basics into students and high school teachers refined their abilities. Now, thanks to “progressive” education theories, it’s year after year of banalities, with never a red mark to be seen.