I found the headline “Rutgers English Department to de-emphasize traditional grammar” startling when I read it online. I believe higher education has a duty, responsibility and obligation to enhance learning, not to diminish it.
A college English department de-emphasizing traditional grammar is akin to a math department devaluing addition and multiplication as essential tools.
In his book “The Assault on American Excellence,” Anthony Kronman, the former dean of Yale Law School, argues forcefully that college and university campuses are heading in the wrong direction for many reasons — lack of academic integrity being one of them. According to Kronman, institutions of higher learning are being swayed on several different fronts by current political pressure rather than by sound long-term pedagogic decisions.
Universities that lower academic standards or basic knowledge requirements erode the whole goal of “higher” education. Watering down a college education will drown cognition, intellectual growth, analytic ability and leadership potential. A battle of wits with an unarmed person is a one-sided fight.
College should challenge the student’s mind to grasp loftier concepts and provide him or her with the ability to articulate new ideas. I’m perplexed about how you accomplish this without mastering traditional grammar skills.
I know that I will question the worth of future Rutgers diplomas if that university abandons traditional grammar or lowers other academic standards. Such concessions are a road to mediocrity and will result only in disappointing outcomes.
West Lampeter Township