Spelling words correctly now a matter of indifference to professional educators

I was listening to the radio on the way home today and heard that the State of Oregon will allow students taking state exams to use spell check. That is, the students no longer have to know how to spell words themselves. After all, argued one student interviewed by NPR, using spell-checker "may even benefit us, in the future."

This is disheartening but not unexpected. Democratic education has, over the years, become divorced from truth. John Dewey's plan for practical or experiential education, an education that focuses less on knowledge and more on judging what works, won over the progressive educational establishment long ago. It's just sad to see its consequences play out in their entirety.

Words matter because the Word matters. The world is ordered and words help us to understand the order. Words convey concepts, logic, and most importantly, truth. In losing respect for words, we have lost respect for one of our most basic ties: our language. Socrates said that the point of philosophy is conversation and the point of conversation is friendship. Conversation is only possible with the common bond of language and language is only meaningful if we can come to know what we have in common, that is, the truth. So in losing respect for words, we lose respect for conversation, and ultimately lose the ability to pursue to the truth in common.


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