Tag Archives: elementary students

Writing Skills Not Valued


I was listening to the news today, which is always an adventure for me. There was a report on changes to the high school SAT, which is required by many colleges for admittance. These changes, taking effect in 2016, are to make the test more relevant and to make it easier to pass. Changes included the elimination of the essay portion of the exam, making it optional. Now maybe I am a little biased, as I am a writer, but this says to me that being able to write coherently and mechanically sound is not a needed skill. Then we wonder why we rank so low on the list globally regarding education.

Being a good writer, albeit good communicator, is important. I realize being a good writer does not measure intelligence and that many incredibly brilliant people are not necessarily good writers.  That does not mean we should not strive to master this area in some sort of capacity. I am always amazed at the atrocious writing skills I have seen in those who have master’s degrees and always wonder how they managed to get that degree as poorly as they wrote.

When it comes to jobs – pretty soon, other countries will have the ability to write English better than us – so those jobs will begin to be shipped overseas too. I do some contract copywriting for an internet marketing firm at times. When I was hired, the owner shared with me that the computer programmers and graphic designers he employed were in India. He had found he needed American writers, as it is difficult to find good writers of the English language in other countries. It seems the way we are going, we will outsource ourselves right out of those jobs, too.

I could go on. I have certain reservations about testing protocols, too. But that’s a story for another day. I just know that being able to write well is a valuable commodity, and lowering the standards isn’t going to accomplish what the “powers that be” are trying to accomplish. I don’t believe this is going to make our future leaders as globally competitive as they will need to be – thus, as a nation, we will fall further behind.

Did you know that cursive writing has been removed from the curriculum from many schools? Don’t get me started on that one . . . that’s a subject for another day!

Anyway, just something I was thinking about . . .

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Sexual Harassment Seriously!?!


I am not sure to what think about the way we are inadvertently raising our kids today. Here’s this poor little six-year old boy getting in all that trouble for kissing his little girlfriend’s hand. I understand that boundaries need to be set. It just seems to me that this big of a fuss and the resulting repercussions are damaging to young children’s psyches and their future opinions and attitudes about the opposite sex and sex in general. Quite frankly, I don’t view kissing a girl’s hand to be a sexual act – but the school called it sexual harassment. Now this little boy’s mother is having to explain what sex and sexual harassment is to a child who doesn’t know and at this age, shouldn’t have to know.

Though he is a little young to be kissing a girl’s hand – how gentlemanly gallant and sweet. I can’t help but wonder if he’ll ever make that “mistake” again. I mean really, was it that bad; was is that big of a deal? I just read that the school overturned his suspension and allowed him back at school. I guess this is one of those times the media was really helpful at persuading the “powers that be” to reconsider their views of a situation they have passed judgment on, a situation that will make a lasting impact on other lives.

If you haven’t heard about it, here’s a couple of links to the story:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/12/10/first-grade-kiss-suspension/3963813/

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/dec/10/6-year-old-boy-suspended-sexual-harassment-over-ki/

Little kids have crushes, always have. I did, and I’m sure you did, too. When I was 12, one of my “admirers” (he had a crush on me, not the other way around) used to spit in my hair and tripped me once while I was getting off the school bus, causing me to chip my tooth – probably why I remember it and Greg so well, still got a chipped tooth. Greg had no idea how to show a girl he liked her. I bring that up because this little boy didn’t do anything mean and disgusting like that.

When I was seven, I had the biggest crush on the son of my mother’s best friend. His name was Ricky and he was so cute and sweet. We played house a lot, with our siblings playing, too. Ricky and I pretended to be husband and wife; we always said we would get married when we grew up. Sometimes we held hands and several times kissed each other . . . on the lips (no tongue of course – we were 7!).

That innocent little “summer romance” is a wonderfully dear memory of my childhood and did not affect me negatively in any way. I didn’t grow up “fast” or “loose,” and have a healthy attitude towards sex and the opposite sex.

Maybe it’s just me, but as a society, we need to chill out. We need to remember what’s it’s like to be kids or teenagers. I’m not saying we should let kids run amuck, but let’s remember that they are kids. I am aware that technology, societal changes, and increased violence (sexual and otherwise) are game changers in the way kids grow up these days and that adds a new element to how boundaries need to be set. But let the punishment fit the crime.

Now I wasn’t there, but from what I heard and read, it seems to me that the little boy’s parents should have been called and they (parents and teacher/school official) should have talked to him relaying that though what he did was a very nice gesture, it is just not appropriate for little boys to do, particularly at school. Let’s not do it again, or the consequences will be more severe. Notify the little girl’s parents. PERIOD.

These types of incidents always perplex me . . . I don’t know, just something I was thinking about.