Day: September 12, 2013

Thursday, 12 September 2013

09:32 – Kit sales continue to be strong. We shipped six kits yesterday, including our first ever to Switzerland. We’re getting perilously low on all types of kits, but the chemistry kits are the top priority. I’ll build another batch of two dozen of the regulated chemical bags for the chemistry kits today and then assemble a batch of kits. Over the weekend, I’ll work on another batch of two or three dozen biology kits.

Barbara leaves Saturday with one of her friends for a week-long bus tour, so Colin and I will be on our own. I considered doing the wild-women-and-parties thing, but I decided instead to have a Heartland marathon while she’s gone. Six nights at six episodes per night will get me through two full 18-episode seasons.

15:40 – I’ve been watching the growing literacy divide for the 25+ years that I’ve been on-line, and it’s becoming stunningly apparent that the US is no longer a nation in which basic literacy can be assumed. I’m shielded from this, at least to some extent. I correspond mostly with smart, well-educated people, and most of the blogs I follow are written by very bright people as well. Homeschoolers–students and parents–are generally well-educated and fully literate.

It’s when I dip my toe in the waters of general blogs that the low standard of general literacy nowadays becomes apparent. I have no doubt that the appalling decline in public schools over the last three or four decades has caused this. There are now 30-, 40-, and even 50-year-old people walking around who never learned basic grammar, spelling, and punctuation. I suspect that many of them cannot read at even what used to be considered an elementary-school level. Certainly, many of them cannot write above that level. And I don’t see anything on the horizon that will stop this growing catastrophe.

As just one example, I was reading an article yesterday about the Common Core. One of the criticisms leveled against it was that the standardized tests had changed some of the wording in test questions. The example they gave was that the earlier version of the question referred to the “main idea” while the updated question referred to the “central idea”. Apparently, many students’ vocabularies are inadequate to allow them to understand that the rephrased question is the same as the original question.

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