The poll...asked human resource professionals to identify the greatest “basic skills” and “applied skills” gaps between workers age 31 and younger compared with workers age 50 and older.I've been talking to a Manhattan teacher who has a late-afternoon class in the room where I teach. When she learned that I teach freshman composition, she wanted to know whether I was seeing deterioration in students' writing. She expects the next wave of students to have no writing skills at all, and she wondered whether those kids are already showing up in colleges.
SHRM-AARP Poll Shows Organizations are Concerned about Boomer Retirements and Skills Gaps | 4/9/2012
- Basic skills – more than half (51 percent) of human resource managers indicated they find older workers to have stronger writing, grammar, and spelling skills in English;
- Applied skills – more than half (52 percent) of human resource managers said older workers exhibit stronger professionalism/work ethic.
The reason she expects the next wave of students to have no writing skills at all is that Manhattan schools are required to use the Lucy Calkins program. The teacher said that everyone in her school hates the curriculum so much they spend every lunch hour venting, and she herself is desperate to find a job in the suburbs because friends have told her suburban schools "let you teach grammar." There's no escaping Calkins in the city. The principal of a neighboring school tried to get rid of the program and was told to reinstate it or find another position. So the program stayed.
In my experience, suburban schools don't teach grammar, either, although I haven't seen the level of micromanaging here that Manhattan teachers are subjected to. If a teacher in my district wants to teach grammar, and knows some grammar, it's not against the rules. But Manhattan teachers are monitored. Administrators enter their rooms unannounced to inspect the bulletin boards and observe the mini-lessons, and if teachers are found teaching grammar, they're in trouble. Such is educational reform in the big city.
I shared my Geographical Theory of school quality with her: the closer a school's location is physically to Teachers College, the worse it is.
She said, "Well, imagine how bad things are for us."
Nightmare from Teachers College
Coach Class by Barbara Feinberg