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Posts Tagged ‘Xenia Downtown’

Language skills lacking in American education

In Children and Family, Economy, Education, National News, Opinion, Technology, Uncategorized on December 18, 2013 at 12:45 pm

DIH LOGOIn June of 2013 the Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences released a report stating the United States is losing its long-time advantage in language and social sciences. Honestly, I didn’t need a federally mandated report to know that Americans are suffering from a chronic lack of language skills.

Every day I read business letters, websites, reports, technical documentation and a mountain of other material supposedly created by professionals but which exhibit the communication skills of a seventh-grader. Even basic sentence structure and punctuation seem to elude people today. Of course, it wasn’t always so.

Once upon a time, American education stressed the importance of what was somewhat inaccurately referred to as, the “three R’s” – reading, writing, and arithmetic. In those days, being able to read and write was considered paramount to a bright future and that’s never been truer than it is today. As information technology advances via the Internet and its collective user devices, one would expect people to actually become better communicators rather than the opposite.

Despite the low-tech, no-budget educational systems of the old days, it’s entirely possible Americans living a century ago may have been far better educated and communicative. Back then students of different grades spent the early school years together in a one-room schoolhouse having the basics repeatedly drilled into them. It might have been redundant by today’s standards, but people seemed to be better able to communicate.

WRITING R USRemote educational technologies coupled with strings of poorly strategized legislation have led to what I consider to be the isolation of the American student. Individualized study, Internet-based classrooms, severe budget reductions in schools and a constant decrease in human interaction have all contributed to the decline of language proficiency. Many states have even removed the teaching of cursive handwriting from the curriculum, a skill, in my opinion, that helps promote a more thoughtful, creative approach to the written language.

Today, however, humanities programs have continued to lose favor, not to mention funding, to high-tech and STEM schools. If you’re unfamiliar, STEM is an acronym for Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics, and refers to a school that specializes in those fields.

All well and good, particularly in today’s high-tech job market. But if these kids never learn to properly write a letter or give a verbal presentation, what’s the point? Having an engineering background myself I can personally attest to the fact that effective writing is vitally important in high-tech fields, yet communications courses are still not a priority for many schools.

Writers used to be highly respected, experienced professionals no matter what their area of expertise. Not anymore. Just ask anyone and you can bet he or she is a “writer,” making it harder for those more qualified who are trying to make a living. I don’t work cheaply, because I have two decades of experience writing for publishers and commercial clients and I am good at what I do.

Still, that seems to count for nothing when publishers are cash poor and I’m competing for work against the latest blogger cranking out poor quality content for free. Unfortunately, the ability for anyone and everyone to publish online has diminished the public’s intellectual expectations of quality content.

Qualified editors are likewise disappearing from the professional landscape. An increasing number of publishers are selling newspapers, magazines and books with scathing grammatical and technical errors making even the professionals appear amateur and sloppy.

It’s no wonder these skills are dying off even more rapidly than we might have anticipated even just five or six years ago. Increasingly, people are communicating not in words, but in a cyber-shorthand, through texting and instant messages. Words are abridged to their most needed letters making our written language read like a vanity license plate.

In order to remain competitive and relevant on the global stage, American education must enhance language and social science programs. If we put as much effort into reading and writing as we do into having the best football team, just imagine what our students could achieve.

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and co-founder of the Western Ohio Writers Association. More at http://www.gerydeer.com

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Xenia law firm celebrates more than 70 years downtown

In Business, Dayton Ohio News, Economy, history, Local News, News Media, Politics, Uncategorized on September 20, 2013 at 7:14 am

By Gery L. Deer

Editor

(Front Row From Left) Attorney Jeremiah Webb, Xenia Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Liming, Attorney Alan Anderson, Xenia Mayor Marsha Bayless, Attorney David Phipps, Jim Saner (Montgomery Insurance) and Diane Davis.   Photo by Gery L. Deer

(Front Row From Left) Attorney Jeremiah Webb, Xenia Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Liming, Attorney Alan Anderson, Xenia Mayor Marsha Bayless, Attorney David Phipps, Jim Saner (Montgomery Insurance) and Diane Davis. Photo by Gery L. Deer

XENIA, OH – When Robert Hirst Wead opened his law practice at the southwest corner of Main and Detroit Streets in Xenia’s Allen building, he probably had no idea it would still be serving Greene County more than 70 years later. On Wednesday, September 18 Wead, Anderson, Phipps and Aultman, LLC celebrated the milestone with a new sign, a ribbon cutting reception and a commitment to their part in the continuing rejuvenation of the city’s downtown.

About six years after Wead opened his original office, Philip Aultman joined him as a partner. Over the years, the firm was home for as many as six attorneys and the original partners have since passed away. Today, there are three lawyers working in the firm headed up by partners David Phipps and Alan Anderson. Phipps joined the team in 1991 and Anderson got his start with the practice back in 1979.

In addition to his private practice, Anderson is also currently serving on the Greene County Board of Commissioners. He believes that the current efforts toward the revitalization of Xenia one of the greatest benefits to those who live and work downtown.

“Xenia is so blessed to have a thriving, active downtown and the business owners and the city should be commended for all of their hard work towards continued improvement,” he says. “We’ve got nice restaurants, the new Harvest Moon Bakery, and there are some great businesses coming in downtown. We have a wonderful chamber of commerce with a lot of young people. When you get young people involved you know you have a future and they’re going to be building towards it.”

IMG_6316The third and latest addition to the team is attorney of counsel, Jeremiah B. Webb, who came on in February. A University of Dayton School of Law graduate, Webb was instrumental in the design and execution of the firm’s signage upgrade.

“I’m proud to be a part of Wead, Anderson, Phipps and Aultman,” Webb says. “Although our efforts may pale in comparison to other recent community improvements, we are yet another example, however small, of Xenia’s progress and movement toward a brighter future.”

Alan Anderson adds that there is plenty more to do. “We’re not done here yet,” he says, referring to the revitalization of Xenia and his own office building. “We’re going get some lighting on the sign and do some painting, possibly a mural on the side of the building.”

IMG_6312The ribbon cutting event was organized by the Xenia Area Chamber of Commerce and attended by local business associates. Wead, Anderson, Phipps and Aultman, LLC, is located at 53 W. Main Street. For more information go online to www.wapalawxenia.com or call (937) 372-4436.