April 26, 2003


Writing in Schools Is Found Both Dismal and Neglected (TAMAR LEWIN, April 26, 2003, NY Times)
Most fourth graders spend less than three hours a week writing, which is about 15 percent of the time they spend watching television. Seventy-five percent of high school seniors never get a writing assignment from their history or social studies teachers.

And in most high schools, the extended research paper, once a senior-year rite of passage, has been abandoned because teachers do not have time to grade it anymore.

Those are among the findings of a report issued yesterday by the National Commission on Writing in America's Schools and Colleges, an 18-member panel of educators organized by the College Board.

The commission's report asserts that writing is among the most important skills students can learn, that it is the mechanism through which they learn to connect the dots in their knowledge--and that it is now woefully ignored in most American schools.

"Writing, always time-consuming for student and teacher, is today hard-pressed in the American classroom," the report said. "Of the three R's, writing is clearly the most neglected." [...]

The panel found that only about half of the nation's 12th graders report being regularly assigned papers of three or more pages in English class; about 4 in 10 say they never, or hardly ever, get such assignments. Part of the problem is that many high school teachers have 120 to 200 students, and so reading and grading even a weekly one-page paper per student would be a substantial task.

On the National Assessment of Educational Progress exam, only about one in four students in Grades 4, 8 or 12 scored at the proficient level in writing in 1998, the most recent such results available. And only one in a hundred was graded "advanced."

Further, a 2002 study of California college students found that most freshmen could not analyze arguments, synthesize information or write papers that were reasonably free of language errors.

Sure, public education is mass producing ignorant students, but, on the bright side: the schools are religion-free and we're protecting sweetheart jobs for the NEA and ATF. And, at the end of the day, what matters more the future of the kids or the ideology of the Left? Posted by Orrin Judd at April 26, 2003 9:46 PM
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