My older brother blogged about grammar today, in particular, whether the word none was singular or plural (correct answer: it depends on usage). His point was that worrying to this level of detail was irrelevant when the average American can’t handle the basics of the English language.
Or balance a checking account.
Or find Iran on a map.
Regardless of who’s on the correct side on that debate, I do think that our educational system is on the wrong track, as evidenced by No Child Left Behind – a national program built on a false pretense to help some guy win the governor’s seat in Texas. I think that such programs – testing for testing’s sake, and teaching for the tests – steal time away from the fundamental task of education, and as such dilute the end product. I also think that mainstreaming children who just can’t cut it, or blending classes to mix the over- and under-achievers is a recipe for mediocrity. And I think that as their economies grow and they are able to pump more money into their educational programs, it is only a matter of time before China and India eat our shorts.
Our kids need more quality teaching time. And parents who instill in them the importance of a good education. And better accountability throughout the system. And yes, even proper use of the word its.
Instead, it often seems like we care more about the condition of the high school football field than the condition of the social studies books.