Erasing the Past?

30Nov07

I read this article saying that some underfunded schools in USA were forced to leave out the past tense from their curriculum. I was mortified! It was a practical but very illogical decision.

I don’t know which of these excerpts is the most mind-boggling:

“This was by no means an easy decision, but teaching our students how to conjugate verbs in a way that would allow them to describe events that have already occurred is a luxury that we can no longer afford,” Phoenix-area high-school principal Sam Pennock said. “With our current budget, the past tense must unfortunately become a thing of the past.”

“Our tax dollars should be spent preparing our children for the future, not for what has already happened,” Hatch said at a recent press conference. “It’s about time we stopped wasting everyone’s time with who ‘did’ what or ‘went’ where. The past tense is, by definition, outdated.”

“At first I think the decision to drop the past tense from class is ridiculous, and I feel very upset by it,” said David Keller, a seventh-grade student at Hampstead School in Fort Meyers, FL. “But now, it’s almost like it never happens.”

Is this the beginning of the end for the “past tense?” I hope not. English and their verb tenses have always been a cause for confusion for me as an English teacher and for most of my students. However, totally erasing it from the English language curriculum due to budget restraints is not acceptable. It’s simply mind-blowing.

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2 Responses to “Erasing the Past?”

  1. I am snickering at this article that you are responsible for writing. Doesn’t sound right without the past tense.

  2. I LOL’d at it… then became sad. See how useful the past tense is???


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