Problems With Writing, Standardized Testing and the Educational System
Things That Contribute to Poor Writing Skills
1. Learning Disabilities
While I have never had issues with my own writing, I have personally seen people with learning disabilities struggle with having to write in an educational setting. I have seen one person struggle for several years with dyslexia. She was a very interesting artist, and one time illustrated, in art class, what a page of written words looked like to her, the picture showed letters in the process of flipping over, moving around the page and the like. Suffering with this kind of learning problem, she actually came to love reading. After a few months of struggling, she became a person that you rarely saw without a book in hand. I loved watching this transformation. Despite her difficulties in reading, she was always a very intelligent person, and could wow a lot of people in her adolescent years with her knowledge.
2. Teachers That Didn't Put In the Effort
Yes, that sounds horrible, but if you look at it objectively, there are teachers out there who just do not care about the success of their students. This does not mean that all teachers are like this, and I really, truly hope that the majority are not like that. There are some instances, though, where I have met an adult man who was almost completely illiterate. He stopped trying to read after he learned his alphabet, and no teacher caught that he could not read until he was seventeen and in high school. I have to question this! How can that many teachers miss that a child is not only not reading, but is incapable of reading for that long? It boggles me as to the skills of the teachers in my area if there are that many who either are that ignorant of issues with reading in their classrooms, or how many just did not care.
3. Poor Use of Grammar Basics
Call it laziness, if you will, but a lot of the grammar mistakes I see are so basic that my eight year old knew them two years ago. I see this in discussions on a regular basis, misspelled words are fine, but to see improper comma usage in a contraction, words like "don't" being spelled as "do'nt, dont, d'ont" it makes my eye twitch a bit.
I have to wonder if they do it out of laziness, or if they were just not taught these basics properly. I just do not understand.
Class Size Issues
I am not calling out all teachers
I am calling out the educational system in general. Why is it that our educational system is failing so much?
Where are the problems with recognizing learning disorders coming from?
Class size? Many high school classes have a ratio of students to teachers that far exceeds what would meet an optimal teaching environment, and make it possible for problems with student learning to be discovered and addressed properly.
Teacher pay? We often hear about how teachers do not make enough for all that they do. Is it just getting to the point where teachers do the bare minimum as far as actually teaching (in some cases, again, not calling out the teachers necessarily)?
I am not saying that the teachers are all at fault, I had some fantastic teachers as I grew up. Some fostered my love of reading and writing to the point that I am now pursuing writing professionally. I had teachers that fostered my love of the arts and music and theater. Teachers are very important, especially ones who care about their students.
On the other hand, I have seen my children deal with teachers that I actually believe just do not care. I watched my children go to school in a school that was rated an "A" school, meaning the best school possible... and when I put them in that school, their grades dropped to the point of making Ds and Fs... that is the only time I have ever seen my children make anything less than a B. This bothered me immensely, so much so that I had my children moved to a different school and bused to that school.
How can the "best" school in town, when my children had been going to the more average schools in town and making fantastic grades, have such a poor effect on my children and their grades? I have had such a hard time grasping this, especially since my children both made the honor roll less than a year later. It is ridiculous, and I just cannot wrap my head around how the "best" elementary school in the district can be so detrimental to my children's education.
I have problems with this. If I weren't hyper obsessive over my childrens' education I would be afraid that they would be failing in life because of poor grades.
Now, how is it that my children could be failing in an "A" school? Simple answer? Too much emphasis on standardized testing. In Florida, it is the FCAT. I have a lot of issues with how much pressure schools are put under to produce good scores on standardized tests.
No one test can accurately determine the intelligence and learning capabilities of anyone, much less a child. When we put so much pressure on a child to have a good score on these regularly scheduled tests that they spend 90% of classroom time studying FCAT questions.
Why do they do this? For the outward appearance of having a good educational system when it is far below acceptable standards. So long as FCAT scores are the highest in the district it is perfectly acceptable, when it is not.
I believe that standardized testing has done significant damage to the educational system and the standards by which we set for our children to excel in their education.