A Happy Note on a Sad Note
kamins at dogeared.com
Wed Sep 22 13:58:29 EDT 2004
>>I think we're talking about two different problems here, though. A =
>>perceived decline in the quality of (public?) education, which I'm not =
>>sure is based on empirical fact
There's lots of statistical evidence pointing to the increase in
illiteracy in the country, primarily seen in the number of alleged
high school graduates who cannot read.
>> and a decline in proper English usage, =
>>which IS always occurring because languages constantly evolve and =
>>change, and English (being the largest and greatest language on earth) =
>>evolves and changes more than most.
I'l grant that this is the case. I'll even agree that pronunciation
evolves, as in the case of "often" (but not in the case of such words
as "chasm"). But basic grammatical constructs change not in
generations but in centuries. The function of language is to
communicate - it evolves when usage moves toward clearer
communication and devolves when it moves away from it.
>>Where there are problems, the schools aren't usually the problem--we =
>>are. Show me a child who cannot read, and I will show you a home in =
>>which there are no books. Show me a school system that doesn't work, and =
>>I will show you an electorate that begrudges teachers every dollar =
>>they're paid; that would rather pay $10 for a new prison than $1 for a =
>>new school; that elects presidents who proudly spend $200 billion on =
>>foreign wars while parents hold bake sales to buy their children new =
>>math books (or, worse yet, don't hold bake sales to buy their children =
>>new math books).
Well, I have to agree with you here.
>> Are we less civil than =
>>before? Probably. But maybe that's because we grew tired of "being =
>>polite" about all the crap that a "civilized" society said we could =
>>never change, like children working themselves to death to support their =
>>starving families, and women not being allowed to vote, and little black =
>>girls having to be escorted to white schools by federal marshals, and =
>>men and women not being allowed to marry whomever they love because that =
>>love isn't supposed to speak its name.
Well, I just KNEW we'd end up in total agreement by the time your
posting ended - and by gosh, we have!!! :-D
Scot Kamins, ABR
Specializing in Brokerage Services for Home Buyers
(with Scott Trahan Realty Brokerage, Portland OR)
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