Why can't bright young people spell, punctuate, or form grammatical sentences?

Look, I myself have instances of fumblefingers, and I make typos from time to time. I'm no stickler for Oxford English and I pepper my writing with colloquialisms. I use "ain't" and "gonna" and "hopefully" (which technically should be "one hopes"). Occasionally, I'll even say "anxious" when I should say "eager" (to be anxious is to be suffering from anxiety, not full of anticipation).

However, there seem to be two categories of people who don't know how to spell, to puncuate, or form actual sentences. 1) Hillbillies playing a banjo out on some Appalachian porch or 2) people under the age of 30.

Did the schools stop teaching English? Did it become an optional course in high school? Were the kids skipping class in favor of smoking dope? Is it too much texting? What's going on here?

By cracky (LOL), back in my day we graduated students prepared for college. Today many good institutions of higher education spend the first year bringing the students up to speed on skills they should have learned in high school.

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I'm sorry the world isn't fair to people like you who are dyslexic or people like me who are growing old and are balding and can no longer attract the young ladies. However, if you'll check the subject line, and read my post you'll see I'm not talking about people your age who have a pathology but people under 30 who don't try. I'm also decrying an educational system which lets them get away with it.

So, no, I can't tell who's dyslexic from who isn't and I don't need to. I'm not dealing with individual cases. And if people are going to tippy toe around every topic which may cause someone some discomfort, what would be left to talk about that would also be relevant?

There are many ways one could approach the question you ask.  Personally, I doubt that there is any great relevance to smoking herb.  I inhaled more than once and in fact I got my best grades when I was stoned most often.  Also, people from different places will be reading this, so, it is difficult to come up with any type of blanket answer.  I will tell you what I believe is the basic problem with public education in the USA.  It is probably applicable to any and all of the lamentations we hear about how education is failing us. 

The basic problem with public education in the states is the same as the basic problem with politics in the states.  They both are controlled by panic.  Since the 1960s, there has been this insane insistence that everything about education is wrong.  The kids are weird.  There is no respect.  There is a huge problem which must be fixed, RIGHTNOW.  This has led to constant replacement of texts, constant reeducation of teachers and, in general, panic.  No one takes the time to understand that nothing can be accomplished if one does not know and understand the tools available.  No one wants the teachers to be able to take a couple terms to get familiar with their tools.  That might lead to good results.  Good results might lead to a lessening of panic.  Lessening of panic may well lead to reduced sales of new instructional materials.  Reduced sales of new instructional materials will, sure as hell, lead to reduced profits for textbook publishers.  Good results will also deprive the panicmongers of a platform from which to harangue the public.  So, there you have it, in a nutshell.  Further, deponent sayeth not.

But the situation you describe itself seems to induce panic, for I don't see any change on the horizon. Parents, politicians, psychobabblers, et al, are not about to let up anytime soon.

I can only feel so much better because I'm sure because they are absolutely atypical. Most kids today seem absolutely NOT fascinated by language, and so they feel no impulse toward mastering it.

Oh, I wear the mantle of curmudgeon with pride. And didn't you notice the word "bright" in the subject line of this thread? Most of the great minds you refer to would be even greater if they knew English better than they do.

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