"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

No More Spelling Tests!!!

Here is another fine example of our public schools "dumbing" down our children. This is what one local area watchdog encountered on "curriculum night" in the Rockwood School District. Missouri Education Watchdog can't agree more with this parent. Although this post was written last year, the district is fully phasing in this new procedure for the 2010-2011 school year.

Check out this article from STL Today. As you can see, some school districts feel the need to do away with weekly spelling tests since they “waste” instructional time. I can think of quite a few of things that "waste" instructional time, but that is another post.

As an educator, this is simply yet another "researched" strategy that schools will try for a few years only to find out down the road that maybe a little practice and memorization are not a bad thing, in fact many students do retain the words and are able to build their vocabulary. Homework and practice is an effective instructional strategy. We must remember all students do not learn the same way. There is simply not a "magic bullet" approach to learning. Simply abandoning time tested strategies for the next latest and greatest fad is irresponsible. Students need to be able to apply what they've learned as well as master high frequency words and be exposed to new words on a regular basis. They also need to be held accountable for learning specific words.

My guess is that the district is looking for ways to increase reading instruction and math time due to high stakes MAP testing. Social Studies and Science have already been cut to the bare bones. There is nothing else left to cut except spelling time. This is just another end result of the federal mandate known as No Child Left Behind. How many kids are going to be left behind with this new approach? Remember the whole language approach? Generations of children were not taught phonics only sight words. I know many parents who had to pay for private tutoring to help their children learn how to read while school districts again looked for the "magic bullet" for success. If this is happening in your school district, let them know your thoughts. YOU are paying for this nonsense. YOU still have a powerful voice in the education of your child. Let that voice be heard!


  1. I can see the bumper sticker now on cars:

    "If u kin reed this, thnk a teecher"

  2. Thanks for shining light on what's going on in our schools!!

  3. I used to work in Rockwood and my neighbors don't believe me when I tell them of the waste of minds and the tossing away of time tested teaching methods.


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