Natalie Wexler’s article (“Why American students can’t write,” Oct. 6) makes several good points but misses an essential one: While students in most classes, especially but not only English, should be required to write (using actual sentences), we don’t want to pay for what that would cost.
Teachers from grade school through college should give regular writing assignments, but many don’t, simply because they don’t have the time and energy to read, much less pay attention to what the students should be writing.
A teacher can’t help improve a student’s writing without reading the work carefully and then taking the time to offer clear constructive comments and suggestions.
Give a teacher four or five classes with 20 to 30 students in each class; then ask her/him to require weekly writing assignments.
The math is simple. How many hours a day can we expect even very dedicated teachers to work? It’s much easier to give multiple-choice exams.