From reader Vanessa F. Prouty:
I also have an anecdote regarding the poor teaching of English:
When our son was entering high school, there was a typical parent-teacher night. I had been previously appalled by the lackadaisical attitude that teachers had regarding correct grammar and punctuation. I tried to be brave, and raised my hand to ask the teacher if, “Now that our children were in high school, would more emphasis be put on grammar?” The teacher glared at me, and said, “No!” That was it! I was stunned not only at his reply, but the obvious animosity he harbored toward us parents.
After the “meeting” was over, several parents came to me to thank me for at least asking the question. I think they were also shocked by the episode. Our children were attending one of the supposed best public schools in Oregon; what was being taught at lesser schools?
A visit to any grocery store will reveal just how poorly people have been taught their native language. Signs will say, “Orange’s” and “Apple’s”. Signs will confuse “two,” “too,” and “to,” etc.
Admittedly, I am a dinosaur. I attended excellent public schools on Long Island in the 1960s-1970s. I will always remember diagramming sentences; I have never known ANYONE else who was required to do that. Indeed, no one even knows what I am talking about.
Thank you for calling attention to this important problem.