Let me caveat by saying that I personally subscribe to the Bill Cosby School of verbal articulation, which essentially posits that blippity bloop pudding pop zim zam sometimes expresses a whole lot more than the most cogently formed argument. That said, it seems to me that it’s useful for schools to first teach kids the basics of sentence structure and grammar—especially when it comes to the written word—before allowing them to go all flippity floop ding dang with their words.
Despite the limitations of English, what I love about the language is that it’s constantly evolving. And while I wouldn’t go as far as arguing that Ebonics should be on school curriculums (although I totally would have minored in Ebonics, had it been offered at my snooty college), I recognize that integrating new ideas and new words into English is what keeps the language alive.
But here’s where I put my foot down: if the boy’s school dings him for saying “ax” instead of “ask” (as he is wont to do), then I need to insist that the 50-year-old teaching materials used to edumacate my son on “proper” American English must be 1) accurate, 2) fact-checked, 3) correct. Teaching my son that “X is shorter then Y” (rather than “X is shorter than Y”) is simply not acceptable. And why are they teaching kindergarteners how to make Venn Diagrams? Next they will be subjected to creating PowerPoint presentations.
My over-inflated tax dollars at work, people! No child left behind, indeed!