Thursday, December 15, 2011

One main reason that todays schools fail miserably...

I cannot remember not being able to read.  My mother told me that I could read before I was two, but I take that claim on faith...and it doesn't matter.  But, without an age reference, I can recall my mother insisting that I learn the alphabet and learn to sound out words.  And then she insisted that I learn the definition of every new word.  As I got a bit better, she taught me how to look up the definitions in a dictionary that I always had handy when I was reading.  I was taught how to read using phonetics, although I only learned this later.

Reading was my key to the world.  I could pick up a book and travel all around the world.  I could even travel to the stars and in time.  It was not just was entertainment.  If I had a book, I was King; I was the master of my own mental destiny.

Reading was power.  Reading was the vehicle for success and for achievement of my goals, regardless of how I define that at any given moment.

If I didn't fully grasp what a teacher had attempted to teach me in class, I could read the textbook and think it through again...or go to the library and look for additional information...and, in a sense, become my own "extra help" provider.  When I got older, I could get a book to tell me how to fix my beat-up used car, could get a book that would tell me how to properly fix a household appliance, repair a hole in the wall, or even take down or put one up.  Reading has always been the key.  Without it, I would be no better off than an uneducated person in what we call a third-world country.

All of this is merely a premise to my main point:  our schools are failing to educate kids today, and the primary reason is a failure to teach them to read.  Yet these blameless illiterates are graduated from High School, many go to college and the illiteracy is indulged and they get higher degrees.  Why?  You will have to decide that...I cannot know the hearts, souls and minds of those who caused and now continue to enable this failure to qualify our children for success.  But it is undeniable that this had gone on for so long that it is not possible that this is is done with full knowledge of the results...failure.  Our children are not equiped to be self-reliant, to achieve on their own, to learn for themselves.  They are doomed to be dependent on Television, DVDs, CDs, and real life in person direction by others, and thereafter on the ability to remember what they were told.  There is no way they can do independent research, checking or learning...they lack the tools.

In the middle of the last century the schools for reasons unfathomable to me moved away from the phonetic teaching of language to an approach called "whole word" reading which, as close as I can understand, depends on memorization of whole words, and filling in unknown word meaning by using the context of the sentence or paragraph in which it other words, guess.  No dictionary skills, no sounding out the word, no study of the origin of the word in another language that might give you a better grasp of what was meant by the word.  And certainly no test or requirement that you ever learn that unknown word or its real life meaning.

And we wonder why even come college graduates are illiterate.

Yet, our educational system and our governmental powers never question this failure.  All they do is claim that we must throw more money at the problem.  Not only doesn't it help, most cannot even do the math to evaluate how much money per student we are wasting by such illogical action.  They cannot do basic math either...without a calculator.  But that another problem for another discussion.  Just one has asked why Johnny or Carol cannot read.

Isn't it time that we demand that Educators and those that fund and rule them answer that question?

And for those of  you who would like to read more on the subject from someone with some logical thought on the subject, I recommend the following link:

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