After reading Michael McPherson’s Jan. 12 letter, I felt strongly compelled to voice my agreement. While teaching high school English for more than 35 years, I was blessed to work with supportive administrators who encouraged a curriculum based in writing, grammar, syntax and vocabulary. Though often difficult, the consistent effort bore much fruit, as we sent scores of well-prepared students to college.
However, new state “tests” and “requirements” later ballooned. The emphasis was gradually replaced with “teaching to the test” — forced upon us by the State of California, using school funding and accreditation as its fulcrum.
Because of this, not only has teacher creativity been affected, but a whole new generation of educators began entering the profession poorly prepared to teach basic English skills. This, of course, led to yearly scores of all schools printed in the paper, thus adding fire and competition for state and national honors.
Now, we tend to graduate numbers of students very adept at “filling in the bubble,” but unable to write a coherent paragraph without searching on Google.
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As Mr. McPherson writes, “We will have to move backward to saner methods.” In my opinion this must occur in order to stop the insanity. Kudos to Mr. McPherson!