New reasons to home-school

From Ace, a link to a Telegraph article claiming that new standards applicable to most American states will require 70% of the public school reading curriculum to be devoted to non-fiction.  Not just any non-fiction, though.  Scintillating non-fiction along the lines of "Recommended Levels of Insulation by the the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the Invasive Plant Inventory, by California's Invasive Plant Council."

And they say home-schooled kids are nerds.


Grim said...

I can kind of see this one, actually. Especially for poorer schools and poorer districts, there's a kind of sense to it.

One of my first jobs out of college was editing technical writing. The core concept I tried to get across to the people doing the writing was that their audience -- the people who would be using the manuals to try to learn how to build staircases, say -- were high-school dropouts. The most likely reason they dropped out was either poor reading skills, or poor math skills.

Either way, you needed to make your manual as simple as possible if it was going to be of any use to anyone on the factory floor. Probably no one ever looked at them, though, but got taught hands-on by one of the other guys who already knew how.

That's a valid way to learn, too.

In the meanwhile, if other technical editors did their jobs too, these manuals will at least be readable by the target population. Maybe it will give them confidence and keep them in school; and if not, maybe it will give them a head start on learning how to install insulation.

james said...

It has been said that you learn more of human psychology from Dostoyevsky than from the psych class, and from perusing my kid's text books (psych is required in college too, it turns out), I agree.

E Hines said...

One of my first jobs out of college was editing technical writing.

No reason both literature and technical reading/writing can't be taught.

Oh wait--all that politically correct froo-froo would have to go by the boards. Or the school day lengthened.

The horror. The horror.

Eric Hines

raven said...

Oh, yeah, this is a great way to get kids reading. I would rather read the small print on a cereal box than some political scripture in Governmentese-
and for sure, the box would have better grammar and spelling.

james said...

Wrt cereal boxes . ..

Tom said...

No, this is BRILLIANT!

Now, reading literature will be an act of rebellion, and teenagers will be more likely to want to do it. Maybe they'll hide in the bathrooms reading Hemingway, or Beowulf. Plus, after the EPA's classic "Recommended Levels of Insulation," what wouldn't be interesting?

Clearly, an excellent plan.

douglas said...

Might as well get them accustomed to reading the stuff that's really going to determine what they will and won't be allowed to do in their lives. Ignorance of the law (or regulation) is no defense...

MikeD said...

To be frank, I'd be satisfied if the damned kids can actually graduate able to read the English language, and I'm not certain they are doing a good job of that anymore. I have friends who are teachers and I hear the despair when they talk about some of these kids.

Shakespeare is WONDERFUL, but it's a luxury when you can't get these kids to spell "before" without using a number ('b4').