Student writing is getting worse- or wait, it's getting better!

Wonderful stuff from Steven Krause.

Representing the world champion, the “going to hell in a
hand-basket,” the eternal the youth are getting worse and worse, and
carrying on the tradition of complaining about students that dates back
in western culture to at least Isocrates, I give you Stanley Fish’s “What Should Colleges Teach?” on his New York Times “blog.
Judging by the many comments here that repeat “oh yes, the students are
so much worse today than they used to be,” he’s clearly the champ and
the crowd favorite.  And why wouldn’t he be?  Isn’t it much more
satisfying for grown-ups to note the weaknesses of youth?  After all,
to do so simultaneously suggests that the grown-ups of today are both
“better” than the current youth, and it suggests that the previous youth
(e.g., today’s grown-ups) were also better than the current youth
(“When I was their age, we learned this stuff.  But now…”).

In the challenger’s corner, we have Clive Thompson and his WIRED article “The New Literacy,”
in which he argues that “it’s not that today’s students can’t write. 
It’s that they’re doing it in different places and in different ways.” 
Boos from the crowd; looks like Thompson has an uphill battle.  Let’s
see how this works out.

(Ding-ding-ding!)

I love the scare quotes for Fish’s “blog”.