Writing test results are frightening …

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 29, 1999

For years we’ve heard the phrase, &uot;Johnny can’t read,&uot; referring to our the problem of illiteracy. A new national study proves that Johnny can’t write either.

The study was done by the Education Department and the National Assessment Governing Board, a quasi-governmental body that Congress created in hopes of having some kind of independent measuring stick for education standards.

Testers required some 60,000 fourth-graders, eighth-graders and 12th-graders from both public and private schools to write stories, essays and reports in order to judge their written communication skills.

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It sounds simple enough.

But the results are frightening.

Only about 25 percent of the students tested showed they had mastered the written word at their grade level. That means that three-quarters of our children can’t write adequately.

And as is too often the case, both Mississippi and Louisiana were listed among the worst states in the study.

It worries us that we are in the midst of the &uot;information age&uot; and are approaching a new millennium yet our children haven’t mastered the three R’s.

Many things are likely to blame – from school teachers and parents to a society that places more emphasis on image than intelligence.

And just as we’re all to blame, we all must work together to remedy the situation.

Instead of running home and plopping the children down in front of the TV or off to play with their latest toy gadget, why not make them sit down and read?

The time to do something is now, before it’s too late.