Wednesday, November 27, 2002


Parents who recognize that Six Traits Writing techniques are dumbing down the writing skills of our children will take heart from this note from a teacher in Iowa, who says education in this country "is currently so riddled with fluff that our kids aren't learning much."

The Six Traits writing techniques are a red flag of lousy reading instruction. You have to "systematize" writing if your students are such poor readers that they can't comprehend quality, grade-level literature and see for themselves what good writing is. Six Traits Writing proves that schools aren't teaching reading any more. That's outrageous, and teachers like this Iowan are getting fed up about it.

On the Six Traits, which teachers are required to assess in Iowa, she states: "I think it's worthless and a poor indicator of how our kids really read, especially when the teachers themselves 'grade' the work.

"Can't anyone see that teachers who are worried about their jobs might bump the numbers up a little bit? I got yelled at by (an educrat) last year because my numbers weren't very good. Well, I refuse to give good grades for poor writing or reading skills, so I graded them what I thought they were worth. Of course, everyone else's numbers were flourishing."

A word of encouragement to this teacher: keep doing what you're doing. You are right. Your students are lucky to have you.

A word to school administrators and state educrats who have foisted Six Traits on schools: shame on you. It stinks. You take more and more of our money to blow on boneheaded methods like Six Traits that don't even work, forcing teachers who lack this person's spunk to become phonies and to deny their students the skills they need. Meanwhile, parents and the public are left scratching their heads over the abject illiteracy of the coming generation. Get rid of Six Traits, and let teachers teach.

And a word to everybody else: have you supported the "tough teacher" in your child's life lately? You should. They're the jewels in the crown of K-12 education. Let's give thanks for them today and every day.

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