In response to a recent article in The Atlantic by Peg Tyre, a debate question has been posted. The debate, titled “Why American Students Can’t Write”, examines the success of a previously struggling high school in New York—New Dorp High– after changing their curriculum. This debate question argues that the reason students cannot write is because of all the focus on creative writing, rather than grammar. Using New Dorp High as an example, with its improved test scores and lowered drop out rate, “suggest that the trend toward teaching creative writing was hurting American students.”In rebuttal, Cindy O’Donnell-Allen wrote her article “The Best Writing Teachers Are Writers Themselves”.Allen’s article gives more of a complete look at both New Dorp High and creative writing. Prepping students to be tested is merely a bandage to a larger problem and is apart of what New Dorp High did. By getting rid of creative writing and implementing more standardized writing to pass standardized tests, schools will see the desired raise in their scores.
New Dorp High did more than this. New Dorp High put a much needed focus on hiring the right teachers and getting them trained. This strategy is what made New Dorp High successful. It is not wonder that this strategy raised New Dorp high’s scores. Student’s ability to write in a standardized form, and nothing more was the result. Creative writing is important for the writing that students will experience throughout their lives. Allen believes that, just as with New Dorp High, teachers important to successfully impact change. Allen ‘s article calls for a needed change in not just the English curriculum but also, a change in English teachers. In order to teach students writing skills that will benefit their lives. The focus needs to change from testing results to long-term result, starting with the teachers.