Why American Schoolkids Can't Write

writing-top.jpg

Kyoto Hamada

In "The Writing Revolution" (October Atlantic), Peg Tyre traces the problems at one troubled New York high school to a simple fact: The students couldn't write coherent sentences. In 2009, New Dorp High made a radical change. Instead of trying to engage students through memoir exercises and creative assignments, the school required them to write expository essays and diagram sentences. Within two years, the school's pass rates for the English Regents test and the global-history exam were soaring. The school's drop-out rate - 40 percent in 2006 - has fallen to 20 percent.

The experiment suggests that the trend toward teaching creative writing was hurting American students. Beginning Tuesday, September 25, TheAtlantic.com will be hosting a wide-ranging debate on how to best teach writing. Check back here tomorrow for the opening posts.


Presented by

The Blacksmith: A Short Film About Art Forged From Metal

"I'm exploiting the maximum of what you can ask a piece of metal to do."

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

An Ingenious 360-Degree Time-Lapse

Watch the world become a cartoonishly small playground

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

Video

The Rise of the Cat Tattoo

How a Brooklyn tattoo artist popularized the "cattoo"

More in National

Just In