It appears the migration has started once again. Several decades ago, in the late ’70s or early ’80s, there was a massive migration of land terrapins, or, as some call them, box turtles.
During that time, I made a business trip to Jeff City driving on US-50. On one two-lane section of the highway, literally thousands of turtles had been killed trying to cross the road. It was so bad that the highway was slick with blood and gore and a number of cars were off the highway onto the shoulders because their drivers had lost control of their vehicles.
In the last week, I’ve seen a number of smaller box turtles crossing the highway. I haven’t hit any but I’ve seen where many turtles didn’t make it across the road. If you see a little bump slowly moving across the highway, give’em a pass. It’ll save you from having to wash your car to remove turtle gore.
An article appeared on the St Louis Public Radio website late yesterday. The headline reads, “Missouri ranks 10th in high school graduation rate. Is that as good as it sounds?”
The short answer is, “No!” Graduation rates do not equal education rates. From the article, any student, or person filling a seat, can get a high school diploma in Missouri simply by showing up. I had a link once to an article that exposed the Kansas City School district’s failure: 22% of the 2012 KC high school graduates were functionally illiterate. The link is now broken, the article has been blocked. Here’s a link to a page with a graph that supports my older post. You can read my 2012 post on the KC school district here.
The bottom line of the NPR story is that Missouri has increased the number of high school graduates. They’ve done so by dumbing down the curriculum and eliminating any real requirements for graduation…except, perhaps, for that oh-so-important social and community service requirement. This is what state (and federal) control of our schools have wrought.
When phonics was removed as a teaching aid for reading, reading skills dropped. My wife once tutored the daughter of a friend. She had trouble reading. Her school, a public school, used ‘sight’ reading as the method of choice. It turned out, if I remember correctly, the girl was dyslexic.
Finally, her parents removed her from public school and placed her in a private school. It was not an issue of the public school being unable to teach her. They would not because they were confined to one technique that does not work for dyslexic kids. The private school was more interested in results instead of methodology.
An important item frequently overlooked by those who stand with sight reading over phonics is the argument that some words, such as hot, hope, hook, hoot, house, hoist, horse, horizon, honey, hour, honest, can’t be taught by phonics alone. That’s true. The English language is filled with exceptions. That’s why, along with reading, it is important to teach SPELLING!
Spelling, as it was once done, taught those exceptions, spelling taught the proper use of the word, it’s relationship to other words, it’s root(s) and its meaning(s). Spelling is another skill that is being dropped in many public schools. Spelling does not support the goal of passing the standardized tests. Rote memorization, with or without understanding, does.
When ‘No Child Left Behind,’ was introduced, the teachers claimed, rightly so, that the result would be to teach the tests. Remember, the purpose of the Education Mafia is not education but job security. When NCLB was passed, the teacher’s union promptly changed methodology and started teaching the new tests. That choice, teaching the test, has carried over and is institutionalized in Common Core.
Remember, behind every headline, there is a core of truth…and a lie. It’s up to you to discover which is which.