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Author Topic: Should basic literacy be a requirement for a license?  (Read 11634 times)
N2EY
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« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2010, 07:28:12 PM »

How can anyone get anywhere in life if they can`t read? ]

It's not about reading; it's about writing.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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AD6KA
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« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2010, 07:40:22 PM »

[quote author=NO2A link=topic=68031.msg447253#msg447253 date=127231903 How can anyone get anywhere in life if they can`t read? The answer is to start reading at an early age and never stop. That`s the only way.
[/quote]

Well it'd be easier to do if the schools would stop this ridiculous
"Social Promotion" policy. That is, they keep moving underachievers forward in grades
when they're *clearly* not qualified to advance. Those students *should*
be held back, made to attend summer school, or special ed classes.
Makes sense, right? Ohhh nooooo....Social promoters tell us:
"We can't make poor Johnny repeat 6th grade because it will
lower his self esteem. This will cause him even more problems.
He'll suffer ridicule from his peer group get into drugs, drop out of school, etc".

And God forbid Johnny is a minority and/or ESL student.
The ACLU will file a discrimination lawsuit against the school district
so fast it'll make your head spin.
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N2EY
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« Reply #17 on: April 26, 2010, 07:44:39 PM »

My wife teaches at a small private university; I taught full-time at a public community college for 24 years.  We're shocked by the declining literacy of incoming freshmen.  High school standards apparently aren't what they used to be.  

In my limited experience, it depends on where you look. I deal with high-schoolers and middle-schoolers almost daily, and many of them are doing schoolwork that is grades ahead of what was done when I was their age - even in the honors sections back-when.

I think there are three big factors at work:

1) In many places funding for primary and secondary education hasn't kept pace with what the schools are expected and required to do. (How many Americans complain about the schools and then vote against adequately funding them?)

2) Before the internet, most people didn't have a place where they could write whatever they felt like, for all to see. Now anyone with access can write almost anything they want. IOW, there have always been people whose literacy was only so-so; they simply didn't get published.

3) It used to be that college wasn't for everybody, and there were lots of decent jobs for people with high-school educations.

So the folks you saw in college were mostly those who were either really smart and got scholarships, or who were well off and could afford it, or who were really hard-working and disciplined, and worked their way through, got into ROTC, worked a few years and then went to college, etc. Or a combination.

Nowadays a high-school diploma doesn't lead to nearly so many good jobs as it used to. So college has become a necessity, which changes the game completely.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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N2EY
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« Reply #18 on: April 26, 2010, 07:54:14 PM »


Well it'd be easier to do if the schools would stop this ridiculous
"Social Promotion" policy. That is, they keep moving underachievers forward in grades
when they're *clearly* not qualified to advance. Those students *should*
be held back, made to attend summer school, or special ed classes.
Makes sense, right?

Of course it does. But it's not done for two reasons: Money and lack of parental involvement.

If a kid is held back, sent to summer school, special ed, etc., somebody has to pay for it. In the case of public schools, that means the taxpayer.  The same taxpayers who vote down funding for the basics.

So the school administrations rely on the parents to push for such things. The involved parents who demand that their kid get special services, be held back, etc., will be much more likely to get them than the parents who don't care. Squeaky wheel and all that.

Look at California's budget crisis for an example.

73 de Jim, N2EY


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KF6QEX
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« Reply #19 on: April 26, 2010, 09:51:53 PM »

Quote
Some folks get upset about "the educational system in this country"

Hey...I resemble that remark! Smiley
OK...The "system" is to have multiple "systems".

The wheel is reinvented in each state and each district of each state and then some poor sucker has to come up with a standardized test as a QA to make sure that at least on paper each one of these "systems" is up to spec.
The first time I saw a "California Edition" Math book I freaked out.
It still freaks me out. I could potentially buy into having  a different "local" history book for each state, but MATH of all things? How in the hell can MATH be different in a state other than California to warrant a "California Edition" ?
The publishers make a few bucks by publishing "revised" editions every so often, ONE for each state....
and whoever decides what is contained in the "California Edition" feels he/she/they are "upholding" the state's "standard".
A "win-win" right ? Yea...that and $5.75 will buy you a Starbucks coffee!!

There is always talk about "our graduates" having to compete in a  global economy, yet we depend on the blinders of each state to reach that goal. Yikes!!
I've heard of books like "Catcher in the Rye" being banned in certain schools or districts (not sure which-that was a long time ago-maybe that is not going on anymore).
There is waaaaay too much compartmentalization of "education".

I don't see how anyone can escape 3rd or 4th grade and not knowing how to read and write semi-coherent sentences; in English.

I realize we won't come up with a solution, and even there was one, with all the politics and economics and even moral , racial and language issues involved, nothing would come of it.

For now I just want to know Just why in the hell do I have to press 1 for English ? !!!
Maybe in some future post I'll tell you all how I really feel. Smiley

Dimitri
 


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W7ETA
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« Reply #20 on: April 26, 2010, 11:40:19 PM »

You press 1 for English because the genocide here was committed by English speaking people.
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W0DLM
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« Reply #21 on: April 27, 2010, 06:28:00 AM »

 >> There are folks who just don't care. This takes many forms, from the folks who think "it's just the internet" or "it's just a hobby" to those who think their words are so important that every reader should exert the effort to decipher them.


My guess is that 90% of the barely decipherable junk that you see on the internet is explained by the above.  Folks think that they shouldn't have to be bothered to think about what they are writing, or proof-read it before they hit the "post" button.  In short, they don't feel that it is worth their time or effort to try to make their writing intelligible to others.

Personally, I concur.  If THEY don't think that what they have to say is worth much effort then neither do I.  It certainly cannot be worth more of MY time than it is of THEIRS.  So, if it would require extra effort on my part to decipher what they are trying to say, I just don't bother.  If they didn't think that their thoughts were worth any effort then who am I to disagree with them?  I'll just move on to the next posting and ignore their gibberish.

As they say, works for me!
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AA4HA
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« Reply #22 on: April 27, 2010, 07:07:08 AM »

While I understand the value of good writing skills the point of my original posting was in reference to the ability to read. I may have misled folks in regard to what caused my trepidation.

To pass an amateur radio examination you need to be able to read the study guides, license manuals and possibly the question pools. While some folks may be able to hear these materials read out loud and to assimilate that information into an understanding of the concepts that they can apply I think that is a minority of the people who cannot read. I would think that a person who could manage that task would be fairly sharp, have a well developed thinking process and a great memory. Maybe for them, not having the ability to read is an organic issue like dyslexia.

I agree that the idea that someone has managed to get through the third or fourth grade without some basic reading and writing skills is troublesome and a prime example of some of the things wrong with education today. I can even say that the education system failed them by not holding them back in grades until they have mastered the curricula of those levels. But we also need to consider that they have also failed themselves by not pursuing some sort of remedial education.

No matter what the causes or what opportunities they may have missed to correct this situation I have to question if they should be amateur radio operators. Much of our hobby is the ability to keep abreast of the operational limitations, technological capabilities and regulatory environment that are all required of us to maintain a station. Until the Code of Federal regulations, license manual and study guides are made available as "books on tape" I do not see how it is possible.

Unfortunately the FCC no longer requires us to keep a station log and the exchange of QSL cards is diminishing. We do not use "handles" and instead frequently refer to each other by our call-signs (wouldn't Na2Cl be a great one??). I would assume that the digital modes including CW would be beyond the capabilities of an illiterate person unless we have some great text-to-speech programs or they can rely solely upon macros to exchange messages. Voice communications would be about all that an illiterate individual could participate in (or SSTV).

We have taken the "special accommodation" requirements that were put in place to allow participation in society for handicapped individuals and extended them to the illiterate. While the illiterate should not be deliberately excluded they should have ample opportunities to correct their condition. In fact, it should be a requirement that they participate in mandated (and funded) literacy programs. (Grade school level education is required by law in most states. If parents home-school their children and raise illiterate savages the parents should be locked up).

Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
« Last Edit: April 27, 2010, 07:08:57 AM by Tisha Hayes » Logged

Ms. Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
Lookout Mountain, Alabama
N2EY
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« Reply #23 on: April 28, 2010, 04:03:36 AM »

W0DLM: "Folks think that they shouldn't have to be bothered to think about what they are writing, or proof-read it before they hit the "post" button.  In short, they don't feel that it is worth their time or effort to try to make their writing intelligible to others."

Some years back, on a different online forum, I encountered a frequent and verbose poster whose stuff was all but unreadable. Incorrect spelling is one thing, but this guy could misspell the same word several different ways in the same post.

People requested that he at least turn on a spell checker. He said he'd tried it, but that fixing all the mistakes slowed him down too much, so he turned it off.

IOW, he had a lot to say and didn't want to bother to make it more understandable. He thought that what he had to say was so important, and his time so valuable, that the reader should exert the time and effort, not him.

The response was the same as you describe: People stopped trying to decipher his stuff.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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N2EY
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« Reply #24 on: April 28, 2010, 04:11:04 AM »

AA4HA: "While I understand the value of good writing skills the point of my original posting was in reference to the ability to read. I may have misled folks in regard to what caused my trepidation.

To pass an amateur radio examination you need to be able to read the study guides, license manuals and possibly the question pools. While some folks may be able to hear these materials read out loud and to assimilate that information into an understanding of the concepts that they can apply I think that is a minority of the people who cannot read. I would think that a person who could manage that task would be fairly sharp, have a well developed thinking process and a great memory. Maybe for them, not having the ability to read is an organic issue like dyslexia."

I don't think there are many hams who cannot read. Some read better than others, though. In any event, we don't see the results of poor reading skills directly, but we sure do see the results of poor writing skills! And poor thinking skills...

AA4HA: "I agree that the idea that someone has managed to get through the third or fourth grade without some basic reading and writing skills is troublesome and a prime example of some of the things wrong with education today. I can even say that the education system failed them by not holding them back in grades until they have mastered the curricula of those levels. But we also need to consider that they have also failed themselves by not pursuing some sort of remedial education."

Their parents have failed them as well.

AA4HA: "No matter what the causes or what opportunities they may have missed to correct this situation I have to question if they should be amateur radio operators. Much of our hobby is the ability to keep abreast of the operational limitations, technological capabilities and regulatory environment that are all required of us to maintain a station. Until the Code of Federal regulations, license manual and study guides are made available as "books on tape" I do not see how it is possible."

Not just that stuff - how is an amateur supposed to be able to use a rig if they can't read the manual?

"We have taken the "special accommodation" requirements that were put in place to allow participation in society for handicapped individuals and extended them to the illiterate."

Is it a requirement that a person who cannot read and who isn't blind be accomodated by reading the test to them?

73 de Jim, N2EY

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N2EY
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« Reply #25 on: April 28, 2010, 04:31:59 AM »

AA4HA: "In our society it is now discriminatory to deny someone a job because of poor skills in mathematics, writing and reading."

IANAL, but that's not true legally if the job requires those skills.

As I understand it, the legal definition of a discriminatory requirement is when a job applicant is asked about or required to know things that are not directly related to the job. For example, it would be discriminatory to require that an electronics technician know the rules of major league baseball, but it would not be discriminatory to require such knowledge of a sports commentator or writer, if the job would involve baseball.

AA4HA: "In one of my previous jobs as a telco manager I had a basic mathematics test, a few word problems and a narrative response as part of the job interview process. I had folks who responded angrily at the test and indicated that they did not see why they needed to have the ability to write up a trouble ticket on a computer. BTW, the position was for a testing technician for a phone company where the employee would need to write a coherent trouble ticket so the field techs could resolve the customer issue. Finally, HR told me that I had to remove those questions from the interview and could only ask general verbal questions regarding a candidates abilities."

HR was wrong in that case if the job would normally require them to write up such a ticket.

Of course you can't expect a prospective hire to know a company-specific system they haven't seen before. But basic reading/writing/problem solving skills are relevant to the job.

AA4HA: "One of the team leaders informed me that they have a guy who comes in for almost every test session who is totally illiterate."

Does he have a driver's license? How does he fill out the application?

AA4HA: "He expects that the VE team will make an accommodation to have a VE read him the test so he could make a mark on the answer sheet."

Does he admit he can't read the test? Does he claim a disability of some kind?

Or is it possible he's faking, in the hope that someone will take pity and "help" him?

AA4HA: "Apparently he has taken the test around 15 times over the years and can be quite belligerent during the testing process when he feels that the VE is not "helping" him. I can see how one guy like this can be a major distraction during a test session and is "high maintenance". I volunteered that if this guy shows up during a session where I am a VE to let me read the questions to him. He will not get the slightest bit of "help" (i.e. stressing in your voice at what the right question is) and that if he wants to get abusive or disruptive with me he will find himself out of the test session."

Consider taking it in another direction. When he gets belligerent or disruptive, ask him exactly what it is he wants the VEs to do that they're not doing, and haven't done already. Make him explain, in his own words, that he wants help cheating on the test. Then you can toss him out and report it to FCC.

AA4HA: "If he has shown up to take the test around 15 times I have to ask how is he studying at all. With that sort of desire for a license upgrade he should have gotten the point by now that he needs to improve his reading skills (and I assume some basic mathematics)."

I wonder what the VEC and FCC would say about the situation. Has anyone asked them? Has the guy been reported?

One thing FCC has been pretty good about is investigating claims of testing irregularities. Licenses have been revoked over such things. The usual FCC approach is to have the suspected persons come in for retesting, supervised by FCC personnel. If someone doesn't appear, or fails the retest, the license is revoked. Provision for such retesting is part of the rules.

IIRC, there's a part of the W5YI manual that says their VEs don't have to test someone if they suspect something isn't on the up-and-up. VEs are volunteers, not employees, and cannot be made to test someone against their own better judgement.

73 de Jim, N2EY

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AA4HA
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« Reply #26 on: April 28, 2010, 07:47:51 AM »

One thing FCC has been pretty good about is investigating claims of testing irregularities. Licenses have been revoked over such things. The usual FCC approach is to have the suspected persons come in for retesting, supervised by FCC personnel. If someone doesn't appear, or fails the retest, the license is revoked. Provision for such retesting is part of the rules.

IIRC, there's a part of the W5YI manual that says their VEs don't have to test someone if they suspect something isn't on the up-and-up. VEs are volunteers, not employees, and cannot be made to test someone against their own better judgment.

Oh yes, I have read of the punishment inflicted upon a VE who falsified a test session. I take my responsibilities seriously and will not do anything to bring harm upon our hobby or to place myself in a legal pickle. Potentially there could be jail time involved and it could cause irreparable harm to the entire VEC/VE program.

The ARRL VE manual does not give us any leeway in who we test. If they meet the written requirements for qualifying to a test session we must test them.
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Ms. Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
Lookout Mountain, Alabama
KF6QEX
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« Reply #27 on: April 29, 2010, 04:34:30 AM »

Quote
there's a part of the W5YI manual that says their VEs don't have to test someone if they suspect something isn't on the up-and-up. VEs are volunteers, not employees, and cannot be made to test someone against their own better judgement.

I'm allergic to innacurate repetition of information however wrong the statement is in the first place . If you are gonna bring it up, use the exact words in order to duplicate it in all it's embarrassing glory!

It doesn't say if they "suspect somethig is not on the up and up". It says: "refuse to test for any reason".

Apparrently as far as the WACK VEC is concerned, the requirements for taking the test, therefore a license, depend on the VEs not refusing to give you the test "for any reason".

Quote
The W5YI manual has a rewrite in its future.
It's not a diner it's a volunteer organization. Either volunteer or don't. But don't give me this I volunteer for some people or most people or all except this one.
http://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/index.php/topic,66488.msg434894.html#msg434894

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N2EY
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« Reply #28 on: April 29, 2010, 04:50:55 AM »


I'm allergic to innacurate repetition of information however wrong the statement is in the first place . If you are gonna bring it up, use the exact words in order to duplicate it in all it's embarrassing glory!

It doesn't say if they "suspect somethig is not on the up and up". It says: "refuse to test for any reason".


Yep, that's what it says.

But why would they refuse to test someone unless they believed something wasn't on the up and up?

btw, it's "inaccurate", not "innacurate"... ;-)

---

But the real issues remain:

Should VEs have the right to refuse to test someone "for any reason"? How about if they have a definite reason to believe the person isn't being completely honest?

Do you think the person AA4HA describes should be a ham? Should he be "helped" to pass the tests, in the way he seems to want?

Should illiterate people who don't have real, documented disabilities (like blindness) be allowed to be licensed amateurs? How about people who are literate, but not in English?

IMHO, unless a person has a real, documented disability that prevents them from being able to read and write English, they shouldn't be able to get a US amateur radio license. (I'm not talking about reciprocal licensing, which is a whole 'nother issue).


73 de Jim, N2EY
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NI0C
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« Reply #29 on: April 29, 2010, 05:04:02 AM »

Here's how I handle disruptive behavior (rude off-topic interruptions, cell phone usage, web-surfing or other non class related computer usage in class, etc.) in my college classes.  Students are offered a choice-- stop immediately or leave the classroom.  In almost all cases, they choose to stay and behave; however on a couple of occasions I've had to threaten to call the campus police to remove someone.  In the case of repeated computer usage in the classroom, I've hit the reboot button on the computer.

Like a college classroom, an FCC examination should be an orderly setting, where everyone's rights are respected.  It's patently unfair for one person to hijack the setting.  If someone is acting like a jerk and disrupting the testing process for others, they should be shown the door.  If they persist in belligerent behavior and won't leave, they should be arrested for disturbing the peace.

73,
Chuck  NI0C
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