There’s A Curious And Sad Fact In This Year’s Spelling Bee

Look at the kids who’ve advanced to the 5th round. Look at the words these young great kids spelled! Amazing. Now look at their names and faces. It sort of fulfills all your stereotypes, doesn’t it? A smattering of metal-mouthed white kids in a sea of names and faces that suggest asian and indian-subcontinent roots…and one black girl from Jamaica.
Not a single african-american kid. Not a single hispanic kid. Not one.
Why? Obviously, there is no bias in the words that were chosen for the kids to spell. All I can think is that somehow, somewhere, these kids are not being encouraged to read, for reading is the key to spelling, and the key to so much success in later life. All this concern and money spent on ‘self esteem’ would be far better spent on encouraging students, and their parents, to read, it seems to me.
I know in families where both parents work that it is very hard to find the time to sit with your child to read, but it’s one of the most important skills you can give your child. A skill that is also a gift.
A gift that will both last a lifetime and may very well change a life.
*Update: In the comments faithful swiller leelu, who took the time to follow the link and look at the pictures, points out several children who appear in fact to be of african-american and/or hispanic descent. However, all of those children (with one exception) have a red “E” next to their names, which indicates that they failed to make it to the 5th round, which is my criterion above. The one exception I debated about and guessed that he was philipino, and thus asian, rather than hispanic. But I have guessed wrong before…

14 Responses to “There’s A Curious And Sad Fact In This Year’s Spelling Bee”

  1. Amen, Brother B. Amen.

  2. Kathy K says:

    Nonsense. All you need to do to get a kids to read is read to them once in a while when young. The minute they learn even basic reading skills, you simply ban them from reading after they go to bed, set an early bedtime, and leave a good flashlight lying around, along with some really good books.
    And if you catch them reading in the daytime, tell them they should go outside and play.
    Hey, it worked on me.

  3. Mr. Bingley says:

    Hahahaha, I like that Kathy!

  4. What a brilliant, ee-ville plan!

  5. Nightfly says:

    Holy shmoly. I’m a pretty good speller but I only knew fourteen of the fourth-round words. Back to spell-checker.

  6. Ken Summers says:

    At the Senior Awards the other night, one student who garnered several was a Spanish-speaking immigrant – one of the presenters even repeated her speeches in Spanish for the benefit of his parents (not for his benefit, you’ll see why in a moment).
    This student has a 4.0 GPA (I believe he is also a valedictorian), works 30 hours a week plus tutors other English learners, is active in other extra-curricular activities.
    The kicker? Each of the school’s departments gives an award to the top student in that discipline. This fellow took the top honor from the English department. Is that too cool?

  7. Indeed. Entirely too cool!

  8. Pathetic

    In case anyone wonders what kind of mindset causes the effect noted here, there can be no better illustration than seen here: GATE still a struggle in Davis Number of kids ID’d as gifted drops after big spike; district trying…

  9. leelu says:

    I read in one of Linda Ellerbee’s books:
    “If you can read, you can write. And if you can’t write, you have to work for a living.”
    So true….

  10. leelu says:

    …*can’t* read,…*can’t* write.

  11. leelu says:

    …are you *sure* Kyle Rogacion isn’t hispanic? Central California, Salinas/Monterey area…?
    I’d bet he is.
    Also, Allion Salvador (“Salvador”! I mean, c’mon!!) from Miami, and Phillip Acevedo (!), Dominic Erazzo, Daniel Chacko.
    And Mehron Price could certainly pass as African-American in my book.
    You *did* look at the pictures, didn’t you??
    And, that said, I 100% agree with you on the value of reading to the kids.

  12. Mr. Bingley says:

    Yes, I looked at the pictures…and at the red “e”s next to the names of the kids who failed to spell correctly. I think all the kids you mentioned dropped out in that round, but I will check again.

  13. Mr. Bingley says:

    leelu, all of the ones you mentioned dropped out except Mr. Erazzo. My wife and I were talking about him last night actually as I was posting this, and in a completely unscientific bit of classifying we guessed he was of Philipino ancestry (based on eye structure more than anything else, really). On the completely unsupported assumption that we’re correct I think that makes him asian rather than hispanic, but I will make a correction to the maiin post. Thanks!

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