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November 22, 2004 Extra Credit
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November 22, 2004

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Grammar Is Imperative Under No Child Left Behind

The following are excerpts from a recent article in The Baltimore Sun (Nov. 21, 2004) highlighting the importance the school system is placing on grammar in the classroom.

"Carroll County's (MD) English teachers are dusting off their grammar books as part of the school system's effort to bolster students' writing and reading skills.

"For nearly four decades, grammar instruction was discouraged in school systems across the nation…But in a back-to-basics move, school officials are emphasizing the need for students to learn grammar as the key to developing strong writing skills.

"'Students need to have the type of skills for written communication that are going to keep people from judging them inaccurately,' said Brian Wienholt, supervisor of middle school reading and language arts. 'If students have poor grammatical skills on resumes or applications, people will judge them as lacking intelligence. Unfortunately, that's the reality."'

"English teachers, who gathered recently for a professional development session on grammar instruction, learned about 'teaching the new grammar,' ….

"The Board of Education recognizes that grammatically correct writing is essential to student success in school, in the workplace…according to the board's policy statement….

"In the mid-1980s, the National Council of Teachers of English officially discouraged grammar instruction, she said. The council has since begun to retreat from that position.

"Kolln points to the federal No Child Left Behind Act, state assessments, and their emphasis on testing to measure achievement as a key reason for the resurgence of grammar instruction…."

"Jayman said that while students might do better on standardized testing because of the county's efforts, the bottom line is 'they're going to be better communicators. They need to be able to speak and to write, to communicate for a wide variety of audiences,' she said. 'People do judge us by the way we communicate.'"

The entire article is available from The Baltimore Sun online archives for a fee.

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Last Modified: 11/22/2006