Saturday, April 12, 2008

Amazing !!!

I was walking out of Starbucks one day and I witnessed an interesting encounter.

A couple of high school boys were doing tricks with their skate boards on the sidewalk. One of the boys said, "Isn't that amazing?"

A man sitting outside asked the boy if he knew what "amazing" meant. The boy replied that amazing meant amazing. The man asked the boy to give a definition of the word, and the boy said he could not.

The man then asked the boy if he looked up words in the dictionary and the boy said no. The boy then expressed dislike for the conversation and said he was leaving.

I thought the high school boy handled himself well and was polite. After the boy and his friend left, I stopped and spoke to the adult.

I told him:
"You cannot blame the boys for their poor vocabulary skills.

The schools here teach the children to guess the meaning of a word and move on, not to stop and look up the word in a dictionary. The school district does this from elementary school up through high school.

And the schools do not ensure a good vocabulary. I was taught most of my adult vocabulary in fourth grade when my daily reading assignments required me to look up many words in the dictionary every day.

The schools here do not do that, so we cannot blame the kids

We forget the foundations for success in the SAT test, used for college admissions, are in elementary school. Reading and vocabulary skills start in elementary school, as do math skills. When the foundations are weak, the rest of the edifice is weak. In a race, it is hard to overcome a weak start.

A person's character is also largely shaped in the early years, and person's character might be the most important factor in long term success.

We forget how important the early years are in education. The foundations for success are in elementary school.

Vote for me and I will work to improve the foundations of our children's education.


Oh, the definition of "amazing" is "causing amazement, great wonder, or surprise"

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