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 . . .