Pushing and Shoving Our Schools into College Readiness

Donna Garner:

Our nation’s classrooms no longer emphasize substantive expository and persuasive writing built upon strong foundational knowledge. This dumbing down of students’ writing and reading is one of the main reasons that students are not ready for college after graduating from our high schools.
During this last decade, public-school teachers have been forced to teach the personal victimization narrative (with an emphasis on “voice”) to get their students ready for the state-mandated tests which contain writing prompts such as “the importance of understanding your heritage,” “a time you made an important choice,” “the importance of accepting others as they are,” “the affect someone you admire can have on your life,” “whether it is important to seek friendships with people who are different from you,” or “the importance of participating in an activity you enjoy.”
Students have been taught that they will get a higher score on these writing prompts if they will build up a dramatic social injustice, victimization essay even if the personal references are bogus. Correct grammar, spelling, usage, punctuation, and capitalization are not factored into the final score so long as they do not “disrupt” communication; and if the student makes a high enough score on his essay, the questions on the multiple-choice editing/revising section count very little.