Without getting into details, I looked over a stack of spelling tests today and almost burst into tears. There were 8 words on the test--easy, grade school words. The test giver speaks clearly and enunciates properly. Not one test taker (all high school graduates) did better than 5 correct.
I was lamenting this to my friend, Criss, who often teases me about my obsession with spelling and grammar. I won't apologize! I don't understand how people can take it lying down. Seriously, these were not difficult words. I blame...well, everyone, including myself. There's a billboard down the street that reads, "Redonkulous!" No doubt there will be a generation of kids who think that is the actual spelling of ridiculous (one of the eight words, incidentally, and the one word that NO ONE spelled correctly). In constructing a rant to Criss, I looked up the original "Why Johnny Can't Read" report. Did you know that report came out in 1955?!? The follow up came out in 1983. So, in 55 years since the original, and 27 years since the second, the situation has only gotten worse? I cannot tell you how wracked with guilt I am at not having finished my degree in education. At least then I could rant with authority, knowing that I had done my best to turn the tide.
Criss sent me a link to the Merriam-Webster dictionary online, which included new "words" such as l337 and LOL. There was actually a definition for L.A., but not as "abbreviation for the city of Los Angeles," rather "someone or thing that embraces the culture of Los Angeles. ex 'She is so L.A'." I wish I were kidding. I wrote back to Criss, "I know I'm fighting an uphill battle." She replied, "The battle is over, Laurie. Webster threw up the flag but you were too deep in the trenches to get the memo."
Having recently watched The Book of Eli, I have to say if we ever end up in some dystopian future I will save as many books as possible and teach the next generations how to read and write the proper way. Who's with me?
*sad footnote: Spellcheck offered me "ridiculous" as an alternative to "redonkulous." Et tu, Spellcheck?