Football is overshadowing university's education needs


Published: Monday, January 8, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 7, 2007 at 11:36 p.m.
The death of a president, the hanging of a tyrant, and the Gator football team playing for the national championship has displaced the discussion of the liberal arts conundrum at the University of Florida.
The debate over UF becoming a world-class learning institution hinges in part on the quality of students who enroll as freshmen. No one does the classic languages that much anymore, even though globalization is here to stay.
The demise of quality education began in the late 60s when conservatives began destroying grammar schools. The thought was that Johnny and Suzy should not feel bad about failing, so the grading curve appeared and they changed the curriculum and watered down everything. It obviously didn't matter if the students did poorly in all the classes, as long as the kids and parents didn't have their feelings hurt and the kids got promoted to the next grade they could blame the teachers union for dumbing-down Americans.
Many of these kids then enrolled in a university, UF say, and all of a sudden the classes are too difficult. America has allowed an erosion of phonics and diction to take place and has placed pop-culture language above English and the classics.
If President Machen and UF intend to be at the apex of world-class universities, the first thing required is fully prepared students from high school.
The College of Liberal Arts is under the gun right now because too many fail to understand the necessity for excellent English and literature, writing and reading programs. Lucretius, Catullus and Cicero don't really care if you study hard to learn their language; what they do take issue with is the fact that you don't study hard enough to learn your own.

Denny Cautrell,

Gainesville

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