I just couldn't let this go.
The other day on one of the social networking sites that I am on, someone posted about a friend who was excited to be going to college. That friend had misspelled several words in her original post, including the word 'college.' Several people went on to poke fun at the original poster and her obvious lack of intelligence. They also questioned her ability to learn and her place in a facility of higher education.
Several people said (paraphrase) that colleges let anyone and everyone in and not everyone should be allowed to seek a college education. That made me fuming mad. How dare they say something so demeaning of others? Have we become so elitist that we would deny the freedom to better our station to those of us that we deem unworthy?
I am the parent of a child who was labelled 'learning disabled' at a very young age. We were told she'd be 'average at best' and not to expect her to be accepted into college. Well, guess what? She's going to college and she's better than average. She's been given a chance to succeed even though there were those around her who would see her just survive. She can better herself and her world, even though she could not read much beyond preschool level when she was in the fourth grade.
A couple of days passed, and I just couldn't let this go. It's amazing to me that, in the land of the free and the brave, we have other people willing to say that not everyone deserves the same chances as everyone else. I agree that not everyone WILL go to college. Some simply do not care to and others who want to will not get the chance because they feel that a college education is out of their reach financially. Others who want to go may feel that they are constrained by life circumstances (family, children, job) and can not commit to spending time to get a higher education. Still, it's encouraging to know that the doors to knowledge are flung wide for those willing to pursue education beyond high school.
So how dare someone insinuate that simply because another has some spelling errors in a post online that that person is not worthy of education? If that person truly can not spell some words, perhaps the best thing for her would be to go to a place of higher learning and to be challenged to learn to spell correctly. Would we deny her that opportunity in order to keep her ignorant? Why? It seems to me that educating our citizens to the highest of their capabilities would be a boon for our society. The more people we educate, the more mind power we have to care for and grow our society properly. This is the land of opportunity, of free-markets and freedom from tyranny and oppression. Isn't it?
There was also accusation of public school failure in the responses. I'll give ya that the public education system in this country needs a redo. If only we could backspace and delete over some of the stuff that DOESN'T work (No Child Left Behind), and insert smaller classroom sizes, more teachers, better facilities. Things that do work and do foster better learning in our children.
We also need to re-insert the parents and other caregivers into the equation. It seems that schools have become a 13 year (or longer) on-going daycare facility. Parents can just drop their kids off and go to work. Easy. Peasy. Then, the kids get home and mommy and daddy are still at work, so they do what they will until their exhausted parents come home and feed them some fast food and send them to bed. People, we've got to get back in the parenting business. Working for a living is a reality, but so is the need for parent interaction. I've heard it time and time again: Teachers aren't teaching our kids the 3 R's, they are teaching them social skills and basic behavior skills and manners. Things that should be taught and reinforced at home.
And speaking of teaching at home, some people think that home schooling is the answer. I guess that would be the epitome of parent involvement, but homeschoolers seem to think that a complete 'check out' of the system is in order. We can not fix something that is broken by ignoring it. If a natural gas line on my property breaks and leaks natural gas into the air, I can't just go on about my day ignoring it. Eventually, the neighborhood will be on fire. So how is keeping our kids away from public schools, and therefore society, going to help us fix the public school system or society itself? Someday, those kids will have to be integrated back into society if they want to live and flourish in that society.
I'm sure some of you will read this and find a typo or twelve. And I'm sure some of you are reading this and going, "Yea, but what do you think will fix it, Ms. Smartypants?" I don't have all of the answers, but I do know that being involved with my children and their school and making sure that they are learning not only their ABC's but also how to love, respect, and cherish others is a start. Learning begins at home. I hope I'm giving my kids the best head start I can by staying at home with them while they are little. But I don't have all the answers and all I can do is try to make sure that my children go out into the world prepared to make it a better place. And if they can not spell? Well, at least they will know that they CAN change the world, one mispelled wurd @ ah thyme.