Website owner: James Miller
Why schools are turning out people who can’t read or write
I believe that at least a certain level of education is extremely important to a person. At the very minimum he should have a good mastery of reading, writing and arithmetic. He should be able to read well, spell well, write well, and understand and be good at arithmetic. I think he should also have a good basic knowledge of geography and world history. These are very basic and important tools that one needs in this modern world. He needs them for his own personal emotional and spiritual development, to develop his potential — especially the ability to read well. Spending time mastering them is time better spent than that spent on any other subject. When I graduated from the eight grade at the little one room country school that I attended I think I had a good basic education.
A great many high school graduates today don’t even have the reading, writing, arithmetic basics down well. They can’t read well, can’t spell well, can’t write well, don’t understand arithmetic and are amazingly ignorant of geography and history. We live in a wealthy, technologically advanced country and our schools are turning out very badly educated people. Why? In reflecting on this question, I would answer it as follows. One reason is the large number of poor schools with poor teachers and low standards. The schools are just not doing their job. Another reason is that so many parents don’t place a really high value on education and don’t push their children to study (as opposed to, say, oriental parents who tend to place a high value on education and whose children tend to do well in school). Another reason is that so many children do only the minimum, only half try, don’t make a big effort. They aren’t motivated, aren’t interested. They don’t appreciate the importance of mastering these basic skills. They are content with just getting passed from grade to grade and getting through. They are perhaps lazy. They just want the diploma.
As I think about this, I think I see a deeper problem that underlies it. It has to do with personal standards, integrity, character. And with ambition, a desire to do something worthwhile with your life. I remember that when I was in grade school I read a lot. I pushed myself. I worked. I reviewed material I had studied with the intent of mastering it. I understood that it was important that I master the basics. I expected a lot of myself. I had high standards for myself. In thinking about this, I think that high personal standards, expecting a lot of yourself, pressing yourself, is a very important essential in doing well in school. You have to do more than just the assigned work. You have to take responsibility for yourself. I think strength of character, prudence, etc. play a big part in how well a person does in school (other things play a big part, too, such as self-confidence, high morale, and motivation). They are a fundamental ingredient in education. How well you do in school has a lot to do with the kind of person you are, what you are made of. Some people just have something in them that others don’t seem to have. As our country unravels spiritually, as its moral standards crumble, things like personal standards, integrity, and character vanish and this is reflected in the quality of both teachers and students. This crumbling morality affects school administrators, teachers, and students.
The most important thing in a society is its morality. Moral disintegration affects everything in a society — all its institutions. Morality is the underlying foundation of a society.
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