Monday, June 22, 2009

Government Intervention Goes "Out to c!"

At least it's in the U.K., and not here. Here's the summary of the article:

LONDON — It's a spelling mantra that generations of schoolchildren have learned — "i before e, except after c."

But new British government guidance tells teachers not to pass on the rule to students, because there are too many exceptions.

The "Support For Spelling" document, which is being sent to thousands of primary schools, says the rule "is not worth teaching" because it doesn't account for words like 'sufficient,' 'veil' and 'their.'

Yes, the government of Britain is giving guidance on how teachers ought to teach spelling to their students. Apparently some in government view themselves as pedagogues.

As with so many other things, it is ridiculous for government to assume a primacy of wisdom when it comes to fields where some of us have trained for years: Education, medicine, scientific philosophy, finance, and more. Consider this: I have a classroom of students whom I must teach, say, geometry. Two sets of lesson plans are devised—one by me, the guy who spends the time in the classroom getting to know these students; and another by a committee in Washington D.C. Whose lesson plans are most likely to be successful with my classroom of students?

Government, in general, does a lousy job running the private sector in a fair-handed and profitable manner. Please remember this.

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