Friday, October 15, 2004

The dumbing down of America

Is it just me, or are America's schools turning out fewer and fewer people who have a reasonable grasp of grammar and spelling?

I am really annoyed when people don't know the difference between "your" and "you're." It also seems there are too few people who really understand that "to" and "too" are two different words whose meanings are not interchangeable. And why is it that people don't understand that an apostrophe doesn't belong on the plural form of a word? This one is especially troubling. What's worse is that many of the people who are guilty of this most egregious error don't often apply the error consistently. Case in point: a service station on my way to work has the properly pluralized "TIRES" listed on a sign, but then not three lines later, they list "OIL CHANGE'S." How does that happen?

I think our education system has to carry a lot of the blame. I regularly see teachers who can't even properly construct a sentence. If teachers can't do it, how can we expect students to do it? It infuriates me that students in one of the most progressive school systems in this country have been receiving "social promotion" even though they can't do the work that should be expected of them at this level. Of course, parents who don't get involved in their kids' studies aren't helping the problem either. And I suspect some of them aren't educated well enough to know either.

I say all this because I have a very bright marketing intern who began working for me earlier this summer. Even though she can construct a fairly good pitch, she really doesn't know the basics of English. I must constantly correct her improper plurals and other failures in her writing style. At first, I took the gentle approach and merely marked up her work and returned it to her for correction. But she hasn't learned from experience, so I'm now forced to correct her work and give explanations of why her grammar is wrong, with pointed notes that she has to learn not to repeat these types of mistakes. These mistakes were never tolerated when I was in school, nor when I was in college; however, today's teachers are obviously more permissive or less educated (or both), and it's doing no favors for our college graduates. A senior in college pursuing a career in Marketing should be long past grammar school lessons such as these.


At 8:00 AM, October 15, 2004, Blogger Jess said...

Your write, Bokey. Its terrible. Nobody nose how to right anymore. At least we can help make it better with our blog's.



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