The Corner

The one and only.

Why Can’t Johnnie Utilize Optimum Communications Skills?


A reader who followed the links to the school I mentioned earlier is befuddled by the school’s mission statement, which pledges the school “to provide an environment conducive to the development and growth of the academic, social, and physical skills of each student by improving instruction and performance
outcomes, providing a safe and orderly school climate, and promoting
community involvement. “

Says the reader: “Environment conducive? Improving instruction and performance outcomes… ? Why is it educators can’t write?”

Which prompts the question: why can’t students write? Perhaps it starts here. This kind of asinine jargon is depressingly common, even among people who write for a living. I used to work for a newspaper whose bosses were thrilled when they came up with a “mission statement” that vowed to make the paper the community’s “most valued information provider.” Can you imagine H.L. Mencken or any of the great ink-stained wretches working for an “information provider”? If news executives want to figure out why fewer people are reading newspapers, maybe they should stop thinking of their enterprises as “information providers,” which signals sterility, and start thinking of them as newspapers.