Seems there's something of a controversy over an eighth grade boy from Connecticut who misspelled the correct answer to a Jeopardy! question -- and lost $3,000 (plus the game, of course) as a result. The boy, whose name is Thomas Hurley III, knew that Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation ... it's just that he spelled it "emanciptation." Whoops! Oh well, you win some, you lose some ... except Hurley feels he was "cheated" by Alex Trebek over the "Final Jeopardy" Q, unfairly cut for a "minor" spelling error. Oh, but there are no minor spelling errors, Thomas!!
I'm kidding, I'm kidding ... except, not entirely.
See, I consider myself something of a non-traditionalist when it comes to education: I'd be completely fine with sending my kids to a school with an arts-heavy, letter grade-eschewing curriculum and believe that some children would be better off spending most of their time in nature than in the classroom. I'd love it, in fact! Right now, though, both of my children go to local public schools, and the currently laissez-faire attitude I've observed toward the subject of spelling brings out the former Catholic school girl in me. Phonetic spelling?! "Don't help your child to spell words; instead encourage him to sound words out on his own." Are you kidding?! That's just not gonna work, for several reasons. Have educators not noticed that the English language has about a zillion exceptions to the "phonetic spelling" rule? Time to get hooked on phonics again!! And there are plenty of times in life when kids won't be able to fall back on spell check (during Final Jeopardy, for example).
Look, I hate to see any child disappointed -- especially a child who just technically answered a question correctly in front of thousands of people. If only someone had taught him how to spell properly ...
Do you think schools need to put more of a focus on teaching kids how to spell?
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