Thursday, April 28, 2011 for X many things

X is not only a letter of our alphabet, but its the Roman numeral for 10, as well as the legal signature for those who cannot read or write.

It can also stand for the X-Files, which was one of my favorite TV shows.....ever! It can stand for kisses or simply to mark a spot on a map. It can also stand for an 'unknown'.....such as "x" amount of dollars, etc. etc.

But I guess, for the purpose of the Challenge, I will talk about X being the legal signature of someone who is illiterate.

I wrote an essay in junior high school which placed me neatly in Advanced English for the next three years because my teacher was so impressed by it. The essay was about my grandmother and her struggles in a world that was pretty much alien to her. (He encouraged me to take up Journalism, by the way....but I decided on taking Art instead. Yeah....that was a wise choice.)

My grandmother (my father's mother) was a peasant woman in her native land. She did not know how to read or write in her own language. After coming to America with her son, who was then 16, she picked up on enough English to barely get by but she never did learn to read or write. She lived with us her entire life and my father took care of her after she was widowed. My dad communicated with her in their foreign tongue. Back then, I didn't give it much thought.....that grandma couldn't read or write. I gave it a lot of thought once I graduated and was out in the working world.

I am a Notary and see a lot of people who need their signatures notarized. Once in a while you get an unusual request. Not only do I have to see proper picture identification, I will not notarize something unless the person "signing" fully understands what they are signing. They don't have to explain it to me.....I just want to know that they understand the paper. You would be surprised how many people do not understand what they are about to sign. If someone cannot read.....then it goes without saying....I cannot notarize for them.

The point I'm trying to make....more than anything the fact that we have so many people that can read and write.....but their education is so limited, either by their own actions (drop-outs) or because of inadequate school systems and they simply slipped through the cracks. This is a crying shame. I've seen teenaged boys who cannot spell simple words, let alone read them. What happened? How did these children slip through the cracks. You cannot drop out of school in elementary school......why weren't these deficiencies caught and remedied when they were young. Because no one cared.....that's why. (and I'm including parents in this) And this brings another thing to mind.....our elementary schools here no longer teach cursive. My grandson has a 17 year old friend who cannot sign his name....he can only print because he's never had cursive. When did schools drop this? My granddaughter who is now attending a private Christian school is taking cursive right now.

Somehow, these almost illiterate people think that if they can read well enough to play a video game.....well, then that's all they need. I'm telling you.....its downright scary when you think that this generation is going to be running the country someday. I'm going to get off my soap box now......and send a bunch of X's your way. Thanks for visiting.


forsythia said...

Wow, you took "X" and really ran with it. Great little essay.

Linda Medrano said...

This is truly a tragedy! Kids are slipping through the cracks all the time, and nobody really seems to care much. (Until those same kids commit a crime that is.) Literacy is so imperative in today's world. Great post, Val!

nutschell said...

I wish there was some way to fix the country's educational system. great post.
Great meeting you through the A-Z :)


Rae said...

You've made a great point. As a nurse, I used to see patients come in all the time with poor reading and writing skills. They were young people too. They were doomed to live a life of poverty and need due to their lack of education. It's such a shame.