Education Editorial: North Carolina Basics

A North Carolina legislative committee is considering a "back to the basics" initiative that will certainly spark debate. The legislators believe that students should be required to learn cursive writing and to memorize the multiplication tables.

While many will argue that this movement only hastens our regression to the past, others will certainly see it as a "back to the future" and long-overdue reconstitution of what should have been done all along.

While my penmanship is clearly "lacking", the real issue is whether or not young people should be destined to printing letters, typing notes (as in texting) or speaking to "Siri", Apples virtual assistant hidden in IPhones, or software like Naturally Speaking. Yes, there are many ways to communicate, but is cursive writing simply about communication?

As for memorizing the multiplication tables, why not simply use the calculator that is an "app" in you IPhone, or the one imbedded in your watch. Yes, there are many ways to calculate, but is memorizing multiplication tables simply about calculating?

Perhaps the legislators are talking about something else that they see missing in the academics and behavior of young people, discipline. While seemingly unrelated, a major shift in school lunch programs was initiated when cafeterias moved from "serve" to "select".

If Henry doesn't want peas, don't give them to him. Why, because there is no Mrs. Williams, as there was for me, who said, "Billy, eat those peas!" and she knew that she had the support of my parents.

Maybe North Carolina legislators are actually saying that there are some things that young people must learn to do whether or not they like it, sounds a little like preparing my taxes!

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