Being a compulsive reader, I feel as if I have been hit squarely in the gut whenever I encounter another young person, including 20-somethings, who can barely read. As an individual who has a deep appreciation for understanding the origins/foundations of one's culture or civilization, I grieve at the thought of multiple generations of Americans who will find it too hard a task even to learn about events and individuals who were crucial to the development of Western Culture. These are no longer taught in our schools, and the consequence of enforced illiteracy is that it is too difficult a task for many to attempt to learn on their own.
My first post on this immensely important subject treated the crime of the wholesale abandonment of the use of our alphabet to teach children to read. Word Recognition, Whole-Word, Dolch System - all of these are euphemisms for creating functional illiterates:
My second post consisted of comments, along with excerpts from an outstanding source, on the Leftist-inspired origins of the Whole Word system. Those who introduced this system made it painfully clear that being able to read was overrated, and I am not kidding:
The third concerned the lowering of acceptable literacy rates for black students in Florida schools. This one was the most sickening of the first three:
This post treats an essay in The American Thinker from the same source that I quoted in the second. Bruce Deitrick Price runs a website http://improve-education.org/index.html that is dedicated to detailing the failures of our current educational models, exposing the advocates of the dysfunctional programs, and providing tools to overcome the restrictions imposed on our children by our educational system.
In this essay, Mr. Deitrick Price outlines one of the most recent moves by a teacher's group that purposely cheapens to very term "literacy". In the statements quoted below, literacy is said to mean almost anything. We are also assured that, due to the advances in digital technology, not only do young people already have sufficient knowledge that dwarfs that of their teachers, it is also of greater importance to ensure that they are more capable of readings tidbits dished out to them by their handlers on electronic media than to be able to research on their own:
Bolding and bracketed statements are mine.
"The National Council of Teachers of English recently announced: "Literacy has always been a collection of cultural and communicative practices shared among members of particular groups. [Isn't that just a precious claim] As society and technology change, so does literacy." [Catch that. literacy "changes"]
These people give good sophistry. Presto, literacy can now be defined any way they want. When these Teachers of English get through, it's a safe bet they won't spend as much time teaching English.
The NCTE states: "[S]uccessful participants in this 21st century global society must: develop proficiency and fluency with the tools of technology; build intentional cross-cultural connections and relationships with others so to pose [sic] and solve problems collaboratively and strengthen independent thought; design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes; manage, analyze, and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information; create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multimedia texts; attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments."
A bunch of school teachers presented the NCTE's thinking in a video titled "What Does It Mean to be Literate in the 21st Century?" They concluded: "[N]ew media in a technological world is shaping the lives of youth and that as a result, redefining the literacy skills that will be necessary for youth to be able to function successfully in the world they are growing up in. [Teachers dangling prepositions] The latter implies, by necessity, that the how, what and why of teaching literacy must also change."
These teachers, not too literate themselves, expect that the "static, print-centric notion of literacy" will be discarded.
So here's the unfolding plan. Concoct dozens of phrases containing the word literacy. Insist that kids must have them all: computer literacy, digital literacy, information literacy, social literacy, visual literacy, critical literacy, financial literacy, entertainment literacy, health literacy, etc.
My favorite bit in this video is when a teacher says: "There is no way teachers know a fraction of what the kids know. Most of the kids in the higher grades know way more than we do." This is capitulation. Teachers (now called facilitators) aren't expected to teach, so they don't have to know a lot. All the things the kids know by using iPhones and iPads will define a literate person. Students walk into school almost a finished product.
Skill with computers is a wonderful thing. But does it follow that traditional skills become trivial?.........
Keep in mind that the stats on literacy have been declining for 80 years. Way before anyone heard of computers, public schools routinely neglected the basic skills. Clearly, progressive educators never considered literacy a top priority. Now, they have a new excuse for giving it even less attention. Instead of emergency action on the reading front, which we desperately need, the people in charge of teaching English are saying no, don't bother with that old-fashioned stuff..........."