I’m a little conflicted about Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary. Some people I admire have said she will drive the poor kids into job training academies rather than giving them the unlimited opportunities that come with a full liberal-arts education. That’s the danger of charter schools. Others have said even though she professes to be a strong Christian, she and her husband have funded atrocious anti-Israel, pro-Muslim curricula for schools. That can’t be good.
But those who say she isn’t qualified for the job because she has never taught school nor managed one make me laugh. Look at the results of our schools in the area of spelling alone. (I don’t blame teachers at all — I blame the educrats who forced them to stop teaching spelling correctly, a few decades ago.)
All around us are spelling howlers. If you read any online comments section for long, your head will explode over the horrible spelling errors. Why does this matter? If you can’t put alphabet letters together correctly to spell a word, you tend not to be able to put words together to create a cogent sentence. If you can’t write a single sentence correctly, what are the chances that you can understand and communicate complex concepts or come up with workable, new ideas? Good spelling signifies good thinking. We don’t have it right now in this country in a lot of places, obviously.
Since the vast majority of Americans went to public school, then the finger really does have to point to the educrats who have been in charge of those schools for a couple of generations. Therefore, to break the groupthink that has created so many substandard thinkers and spellers, and many other problems in K-12 education, we need a non-educrat as the chief executive. Hence, Betsy DeVos makes sense.
This sign is a humorous but also telling example of what’s wrong with English language education in this country. Obviously, the person who wrote it was taught to read with the Whole Language philosophy. That is, basically, sight reading. Even though our language is based on sound, Whole Language teaches kids to use only their sense of sight in spelling words. Schools tossed out the very cheap, effective and correct way to teach reading in the 1950s and ’60s: systematic, intensive, explicit phonics. When you know the phonograms and learned to read by sounding out words, you would instantly know that the “a” in “brain” comes before the “i.”
Notice the intentional misspelled word in the title of this post: “smrat.” That’s another example of the letter reversals of Whole Language that render words unintelligible. I’m not saying the educrats we’ve had in charge of Big Ed for so many years are stupid or evil. I just don’t think they know any better. They come from a closed loop. We need an outsider to change things that they don’t even realize are wrong.
This sign, as kooky as it is, is an indictment of the “system” that needs to change, STAT. It probably doesn’t matter who it is at the helm of the D.O.E. as long as it is somebody who “gets it” that we need to move away from Whole Language, Whole Math, Common Core, nationalized curricula, etc.
That is, if as a nation, we still have a “brian.”