Archive for Sunday, February 12, 2006

Grammar point

February 12, 2006


To the editor:

Supporters of State Education Commissioner Bob Corkins often state that, despite possessing no credentials or experience in the field of education, he is nonetheless qualified for the job. However, in Dave Ranney's Feb. 9 Journal-World story, "Corkins to ask for $150M for state's schools," Corkins is quoted, "There is no criteria by which to judge success in meeting the court's expectations."

I won't even address the obvious fact that Corkins' remarks belie his understanding of the Kansas court ruling in this matter. I will address our education commissioner's grammatical skills. "Criteria" is the plural of "criterion." Therefore, Mr. Corkins should have said, "There ARE no criteria by which to judge success in meeting the court's expectations." Even without a background in education, it is reasonable to expect that the chief state education official can speak English on a junior high school level.

Robert Sokol,



Curtona 9 years, 9 months ago

I agree. But have you heard the junior high schoolers speaking English lately? It's the quality of education that's going into the toilet. Perhaps Corkins can't help it.

Bradley Kemp 9 years, 9 months ago

Even without confusing plurals that don't look like ordinary plurals, number agreement between verbs and nouns seems to be disappearing in sentences like "There (is or are) (some multiple of things)." You hear things like "There's four reasons" or "There's three people in the car" all the time now.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 9 months ago

My pet peeve is using the subject form of a pronoun in a phrase such as "between you and I" rather than "between you and me." That hyper-correct form grates way more than a vernacular expression such as "Me and him went for a beer."

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 9 months ago

Miscues of grammar, particularly in extemporaneous speech, can be forgiven, although they are becoming more common and one might expect a higher standard from the Commissioner of Education.

More troubling is Corkins' actual experience with public schools, which has consisted of attempts at undermining them academically and financially. A fox in the henhouse.

Jamesaust 9 years, 9 months ago

I just assumed that he meant "there is no criterion" but then thought that sounded too stupid when initiating a statement that he was clueless about a core competency element of his job.

There's a difference between a teacher coaching students on what to study for an exam and actually filling in the answers for them. The Kansas Supreme Court has schooled state officials adequately on what they need "to pass the test." Bob either is mentally deficient in evaluating that coaching, or more likely, just doesn't like the answer.

Sorry, Bob, but 2+2 is not $150 million (less than the Powerball jackpot!). Do you want to retake the test again?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 9 months ago

I won't defend Hillary as an orator, but how can you possibly complain about her when she is clearly superior our linguistic-mangler-in-chief?

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