The responsibility of education

images13.jpgI was watching the news this morning and there was a middle aged woman that was using double negatives, and it made me wonder.

If you weren’t taught to speak English properly at home, or in school, where, or on whom, does the responsibility fall? Some people are taught proper English but elect to use slang and such. That to me is something different; perhaps they’ll grow out of it as they grow older and have a job that requires them to speak and write with a real semblance of proper grammar, punctuation, etc. But what of the person who never really learned to speak English correctly? Perhaps to a certain degree, it can be influenced by a familial or cultural factor. If people around you are speaking well, you might try to do some catching up in how you speak. If the people you hang out with speak the same way as you, you may never think it’s important to learn, or even know the way you’re speaking is incorrect. Maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe I’m a purist, a Scrabble-obsessive, and anal retentive about my verbiage and writing, and should leave these people alone. After all, they apparently haven’t needed to be proficient in the language until now, so who am I to declare that they’re deficient in some way? And yet, you see many people who grew up either outside of the country, where the English lessons may be insufficient, or grew up in a society and culture where it didn’t matter, but decided that in order to be taken seriously they should distance themselves from speaking merely street slang or speaking with a new immigrant’s vocabulary, and really applied themselves to improving. I don’t diminish the effort involved. I was born into a household where grammar and punctuation were important, and it’s become something I hold close to my heart.

I guess this discussion isn’t only about speaking English. Who determines whether people should learn the history of their country, or the country in which they reside? Should things like State Capitals and former Presidents be common knowledge? Would people who don’t know any of these things feel or be left out?

Some people were raised with political meetings taking place in their living rooms. Should a political education, along with an emphasis on voting, be more of a focus in society? If I don’t care about politics, and don’t vote, does it matter, as long as I really am OK with whoever gets elected, whether McCain is pro-choice or if Hillary can control Bill?

I guess my question boils down to, if for one reason or another, someone is not raised with knowledge of a certain field, where does the responsibility fall? Is “ignorance is bliss” enough? Should someone have a natural desire to learn things they don’t know? Is someone just “not educated”, which means that anything they don’t know should be assumed to be unimportant to them, and therefore acceptable? Or is the question “Why haven’t you searched it out?” a fair one. What does what you know, and how you say it, say about you?

I’m not sure.


4 comments on “The responsibility of education

  1. Dina says:

    I think this post should have ended with…”Maybe I’m a purist, a Scrabble-obsessive, and anal retentive about my verbiage and writing, and should leave these people alone.” It’s a wonder sometimes how i put up with you. 🙂

  2. Rhea says:

    For the record, I know for a fact that Dina was taught proper English at home…

  3. Susanne says:

    You know, this will just make us scrutinize your grammer on all future blog posts so we can call you out as a hypocrite. 🙂

  4. Avi says:

    I try my best and if I make a mistake, I try to learn from it. By the way, it’s grammAr, not grammer. 🙂

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