Letters to the Editor

August 12, 2014

Critical thinking graduates can't read

To all "Professional Educators," NEA advocates, administrators and their intellectual hordes, would you please enlighten me on how a child can spend 12 years in the public school system, being moved up from grade to grade, and exit without being able to read and comprehend proficiently? Twelve years is a long time to have any person in a system. For a kid to spend so much time in one place and come out so short of basic reading and comprehension skills is mind-boggling.

Much is said of teaching students to be "critical thinkers." Learning to read well, understand and use effective vocabulary should develop excellent "critical thinking" skills unless the content is so dumbed down and standards for proficiency lowered. I am more than willing to be taxed to have a well read and literate graduate enter society with great potential to succeed. How much time and effort is actually spent in demanding and developing excellent reading skills over those 12 years? Without it knowledge, understanding and opportunities are limited, whether in a career or being a responsible citizen in this great country. The French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville said of America in the 1830s that we were the most literate people he had ever seen in one place. I think not today. Parental involvement is important but you are the "professionals." Everyone does not have the same abilities but foundational success is attainable. Increased educational funding is always requested, but for what purposes? For pay raises and benefits? Please explain, if you will, and tell us what you need.

Brent Rains


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