by Bruce Price 12/10/13
American newspapers don’t aggressively support literacy. That is killing them; and it’s killing us. Wouldn’t you think that newspapers would scream and holler in every possible way to make the public schools do a better job with reading?
Yes, common sense dictates that you would think that. If children aren’t learning to read, where will newspapers get their customers in the future?
Somehow we now have 50 million functional illiterates. Public schools, in general, do a lousy job with the basics: Reading, writing, arithmetic, and foundational knowledge. Even if people can read but do not know where Spain is on a map, they are not likely to be buyers of newspapers. They will lack the background information to make sense of new information.
In sum, all of the bad tendencies suggested by the phrase “dumbing down” are going to impact with special brutality on print media. So why do newspapers do such a lousy job of supporting what is in their best interest? Are they oblivious? Do they like the idea of dying?[pullquote]Even if they have many conservative views, these people would hate to hear themselves called “conservative.” All right, these are just words but you can see how they could make people drift toward supporting their own worst enemies. I think the NY Times tries to make this happen every day.[/pullquote]
One of the big problems we have in our country is that the term “liberal” covers, let us say, a multitude of sins and spins. The bad liberals, as I would call them, are basically communists. And they are now laughing at me, thinking in effect: You fool! Of course we want to dumb everybody down. Ignorant people will not be able to stop us.
But I persist in thinking there are vastly greater numbers of good liberals. People who are idealistic and hopeful, and still concerned with dreams of liberty, what Thomas Jefferson meant by “liberal.” They may be a little fuzzy-minded sometimes because they don’t want to confront how totalitarian the far-left can be. They drift into supporting some far-left ideas because these are described as “liberal.” And good liberals don’t want to oppose other so-called “liberals.”
Even if they have many conservative views, these people would hate to hear themselves called “conservative.” All right, these are just words but you can see how they could make people drift toward supporting their own worst enemies. I think the NY Times tries to make this happen every day.
Ultimately, good education is a rather conservative enterprise because we want to preserve the best from past years and civilizations. Communists always want to destroy everything from the past and start over at Year Zero. That was one of the themes in the novel 1984.
I urge everyone to think about the education you would like your children, and other children, to have. Are you thinking of a good, solid, academic education? I believe this is best for each individual child. And I believe it’s best for the entire society.
Conversely, a dumbed-down education such as that offered in many public schools is devastating for each individual child and for the entire society. Who can argue?[pullquote]Ultimately, good education is a rather conservative enterprise because we want to preserve the best from past years and civilizations. Communists always want to destroy everything from the past and start over at Year Zero. [/pullquote]
I just put a piece on American Thinker called Extra! Extra! American Newspapers Don’t Care About Reading, which deals with these issues. I mention that the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) has a pretentious list of principles, for example, “The American press was made free… to bring an independent scrutiny to bear on the forces of power in the society, including the conduct of official power at all levels of government.”
Do you feel that our newspapers are bringing “independent scrutiny to bear” on the Education Establishment? No, they treat it with kid gloves, the same way they treat President Obama. This is not good for our educational system, nor good for our political system.
Well, if this country is going to hell, as some think, the way it happens is that the schools are used to dumb people down so they can no longer tell what hell is and isn’t. I like the idea of saving the country one public school at a time.
Here’s a good introduction to our reading problems: 42: Reading Resources
Bad reading theory now is mainly presented under the phrase “high-frequency words.” Instead of teaching the children phonics, the schools force children to memorize “is” and “run” as sight-words. This is a killer. If it’s in your schools, that’s like finding termites in your basement. For an article about the lie known as “high-frequency words,” see: High-Frequency Lie: Some Words Can’t Be Sounded Out
American Thinker article: American Newspapers Don’t Care About Reading
Bruce Deitrick Price explains education theories and methods on his site Improve-Education.org
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