The Start of the End of the Importance of Writing?

Standardized tests and I never got along.  Well at least the math and science part.  But I dealt with it; we all did.

I was on Twitter this morning and came across an article from the Chicago Tribune with the title Illinois cancels the state’s last writing exam. It’s well known that the State of Illinois has money problems and it didn’t surprise me one bit that the writing test of juniors in high school has been cut due to budget constraints. Illinois is not alone in ridding writing exams to save money.

The article does a good job of being objective and showing both sides of the coin. But I’m extremely bothered by this. I’ve spoken with a colleague of mine, also a writer, and my good friend, who hold a degree in English, and both came to the same conclusion. What kind of communicators are the next generations going to be?

People struggle with writing, myself included. But if the importance of academia is shifting toward math and science, because that’s where the money is moving it, what’s is going to happen to the art of writing? Where does the practice go?

Technology has already made handwriting obsolete and many schools are phasing it out of their curriculum. Teenagers and business professionals have already resulted to using slang and text message speak in professional correspondence. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve received an email signed with tks.

If the use of proper language and spelling have already diminished, what is going to happen to the art of writing? Are essays, business correspondence, novels and poetry going to be written with text message jargon and misspellings? Is it going to be 1ce  upon time?

Experts say that the test will be eventually implemented again, but at what cost? Isn’t having well-educated science buff and mathematicians that can communicate their findings in words important to the continued growth of the country?

Writers, what do you think of this? What kind of damage do you think laws and cost-saving measures like this will do to the future of writing?

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4 thoughts on “The Start of the End of the Importance of Writing?

  1. This is bad news for everyone in the long run. Why are we denying students a well-rounded education just to save a few bucks *right now*? Shouldn’t the education of our students today, in a variety of fields, be considered an investment in our own future?

    I think technology is a great tool; think of how much faster thoughts and ideas can flow or be erased while typing vs. writing with paper and pen. But if we can’t get our words across clearly while using technology, what good is it going to do for us?

    And good luck trying to put the writing exam back into circulation on future tests. If it’s already been deemed “unnecessary” once, taxpayers are not going to shell out more money to put it back in.

  2. Nothing is better than the written word. As an educator I refuse to feel that I am fighting a losing battle. In fact, the more I am faced with the barrage of technology, the more determined I am to have my students express themselves in their writing. Sometimes it is difficult, but every single time we do a creative writing assignment, they LOVE hearing what their classmates wrote. I’ll never give up!

  3. I am extremely bothered by this. As an english tutor at a university, I am floored at the poor quality of the assignments that come into my hands. With each passing year students are becoming more and more lazy, writing poorly contrsucted documents riddled with “text speak.” As an incoming freshman, it is important for a student to at least know the very basics of writing a research paper; it is here that schools are failing. This next generation is going to be caught up in technology, unable to properly express their ideas on paper. It’s disappointing.

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