During my English teaching career, I was a member of the National Council of Teachers of English, but not for long. It became apparent that rather than upholding professionalism and rational standards, the NCTE was just another leftist organization, which was sprinting as far left as possible. The organization has, somehow, managed to survive without my financial support. They continue, as JoanneJacobs.com reports, their headlong rush to intellectual oblivion:
In the name of ‘linguistic justice,’ college writing instructors have agreed that teachers should ‘stop using academic language and standard English as the accepted communicative norm,’ writes Matthew Stewart, associate professor of humanities and rhetoric at Boston University, on the Martin Center blog.
The executive committee of the Conference on College Composition and Communication, the largest and most important association of college-level writing teachers, has approved “demands” by six professors, writes Stewart. CCCC is closely associated with the National Council of Teachers of English, an even larger group predominantly made up of middle and high school teachers.
The CCCC statement, written in academic/woke English with a ‘cain’t’ here and a ‘respeck’ there, includes:
Teachers (must) develop and teach Black Linguistic Consciousness that works to decolonize the mind (and/or) language, unlearn white supremacy, and unravel anti-Black linguistic racism!
Uh-huh. Telling students “shit” and “fuck” are not every part of speech, nor are they acceptable in college-level writing, is “anti-Black linguistic racism.” So, apparently, is requiring correct spelling and grammar.
. . . teachers STOP telling Black students that they have to ‘learn standard English to be successful because that’s just the way it is in the real world.’ No, that’s not just the way it is; that’s anti-Black linguistic racism.
Leftists commonly create their own reality and demand others live in it, but there is a real world out there, just across the street from the campus, and when its graduates swagger out, screaming “systemic racism” and “oppression,” and demanding to be hired despite being unable to clearly communicate verbally or in writing, the real world will get very real very quickly.
In short, writes Stewart, the CCCC has declared that teaching black students standard English is racist and therefore ‘destructive and injurious.’
And here, gentle readers, leftists, as they always do, destroy those they most claim to help.
Stewart thinks the full membership will adopt the statement, whatever their beliefs. Some instructors ‘will loosen Standard English requirements,’ disadvantaging their students, he predicts. ‘Others will introduce lessons on Black English.’ There will be a lot of ‘eggshell-walking.’ Most ‘will continue to recognize the viability of Black English in black students’ lives but retain their belief that all students benefit from learning Standard English.’
‘The determination that whatever students bring to the classroom is sufficient unto itself — that they are already language ‘mavens,’ as the CCCC statement has it — reveals a shallow and self-defeating conception of education,’ Stewart concludes.
During my college teaching career, the English faculty had no time for such nonsense. We knew students would revert to bad habits in their daily speech and writing, but it was never thought a “viable” and valuable means of expression. Understanding that, why in the world would we try to teach “Black English” or any other slovenly dialect? In fact, we believed—silly us—students were in college to learn college-level writing and communication skills. Were that not true, what were they paying for? Why did we bother to attain our skills and certifications? And so, racists that we were, we made their papers bleed, and lo and behold, our students, man and women, of all races, became better writers.
To what has the official body of college composition teachers given its imprimatur? In a word: politics. In two words: separatist politics.
While acknowledging that progressive ‘CCCC/NCTE policies in relation to multilingualism have been vital to classrooms and communities,’ the statement avers that not nearly enough has been done on the political front. Educators ‘must be activists’ (italics in the original).
This is a false premise. The demands of the CCCC/NCTE have been anything but vital. Class time is always scarce, and wasting even a minute on separatist, racist politics is malpractice and fraud.
In language that invokes old Dixie rather than the 2020 schoolroom, the CCCC statement portrays American schools as places where black children meet nothing but disrespect in their English classes. Language instruction as it is now practiced is said to ‘seek to annihilate Black Language + Black Life.’ Thus, educators are called to engage in a ‘political process that must inherently challenge institutions like schools whose very foundations are built on anti-Black racism.’
If we do not accept the hyperbolic, racist assertion that opposing the demands of the CCCC/NCTE is actually killing Black people, we are racist. And it is now not enough to be demonstrably non-racist, we must also be “anti-racist,” which consists primarily of thinking, saying and doing whatever BLM cracktivists demand, which also includes giving them dumptruck loads of cash.
Linguists have long pointed out that defining a dialect as nonstandard does not mean that it is substandard. This has been conventional wisdom within the profession for well over half a century. Such non-judgmentalism already permeates America’s collegiate language departments and its university schools of education, which are dominated by progressive faculty, and where the nation’s schoolteachers have been trained.
This may be overly sensitive, in that nonstandard may well be substandard, but when one gives such people an inch, they take a solar system. As long as college students are still required to write standard, academic English on ever-increasing levels of skill—if not, what is college for?—it is a mostly harmless observation.
But the determination that whatever students bring to the classroom is sufficient unto itself—that they are already language ‘mavens,’ as the CCCC statement has it—reveals a shallow and self-defeating conception of education.
It’s a suicidal concept of education. It begins in K-12 education, where the “student-centered instruction” movement has long held sway. It basically argues that students are inherently brilliant, inquisitive and hungry for learnings, so teachers must be mere facilitators, non-demanding guides who allows the inner brilliance of their charges to emerge through their own efforts. The whole lunatic construction denies reality; while they may be possessed of some degree of native intelligence, kids know very little, and even less about how to apply what they do know to the reality of their lives. They don’t know how to think and reason, nor do they know how to write and speak. All of these things take carefully guided practice over time, step by step. Kids are no more language mavens on their first day of college than they are nuclear physicists, medical doctors, plumbers, electricians or teachers. In fact, it is this kind of dumbing down of education that ensures they will not be academically competent despite holding a high school diploma, which is why colleges have remedial high schools, which charge full tuition for classes, but grant no credit.
Should you be particularly masochistic, gentle readers, take this link to see the depth of insanity in the CCCC/NCTE.
Should the Harris/Biden Administration take the White House, this is precisely the kind of lunacy the federal Department of Education will mandate. It is not designed to close historic achievement gaps between black and white students, nor will it heal the racial divide inflicted on America by Barack Obama and Joe Biden. It is specifically designed to separate us, and keep us at each other’s throats, the better to keep us from turning on our new, incompetent, masters.