Everyone talks about the importance of standards in education. Yet when it comes to teaching English, most say that teaching correct grammar is elitist (“A Style Guide for the 1 Percent,” The New Yorker, Feb. 11). Apparently, they are content with allowing students to write without any rules.
If that’s so, then why make English a required subject for graduation from high school at all? Let students simply write whatever they want. By the same token, let students read whatever they want. Who cares about exposing them to the classics, which they would no doubt find boring?
I taught English at the same high school for 28 years. During that time, I saw how dumbed down the curriculum became as pressure built to make everything relevant. You don’t have to be a pedant or snob to realize that without standards school becomes little more than a protracted playground. We talk so often about the importance of preparing students for college or the workplace. But by abandoning standards because they are said to be elitist, we shortchange them.
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