In one of the classes I am taking, we are discussing user fees. This is a class for college seniors, and so you would think that the students in this class would at least be able to spell, and perhaps even form a basic sentence. The post that I am about to quote is from an online discussion of user fees, and this particular post concerns user fees charged by animal control for picking up stray animals. Read the post of one of my fellow students:

This is very benefit to the Pinellas County Animal Shelter charger citizens for picking up animals or surrendered to the agency. The bad news the agency are taking risk of taking animals who could have been infect with diseases or anything else. A fee of $20 is not much but I don’t mind surrendered animals to the agency as long the animals are taking care for. I would not consider picking up with raccoon because they could have rabbies and most of them are very aggresive. Now, citizens must pay a fee for having the service taking animals away from their property. I see no wrong for this but I would like to keep animals off my property. Instead of having the service pick up the animals, It would be best to set a trap or a cage to capture the animals myself. I have a trap cage that will trap raccoons from coming to my property. Once the raccoons are capture in the cage, I would send the animal back to ther service. I was wondering do the service are letting these animals go since they have no responsible for their well being. A cage caputing raccoons is the best option of having the service do it for you.

Wow. Just wow. Our country has lowered standards to the point that this is the work of a college senior.

EDITED TO ADD: The student is an English speaking student. The last name is Bell. 

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Anonymous · November 29, 2010 at 11:09 am

Not English as first language? Still, shocking… especially then idea of 'caputing racoons'… Ah, a German speaker, I get it 🙂

RJIII · November 29, 2010 at 12:05 pm

My father used to shake his head and comment "The longer some people go to school the dumber they get" Also he'd talk of over educated idiots. The old man was right.

CelticGirl · November 29, 2010 at 4:21 pm

Yikes – even if you allow for typos…most of those sentences don't even make sense!

My head hurts from trying to read that.

Ancient Woodsman · December 1, 2010 at 4:21 pm

Here speeching english?

Good Lord, that was a painful read.

Nothing new, though. Dr. Richard Lederer once taught English at a top-ranked prep school in the Granite State – experience which lead him to publish "Anguished English" back in the 80s. It is a good read, but depressing when considering his source material for 26 years was the fruit of society's upper crust.

Renee' Bird · December 3, 2010 at 11:53 pm

As much as I fully agree with you that many of today's students cannot write comprehensible English, I believe that post was written by someone who learned English as a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th language. There is a consistent use of present tense, incorrect application of "being verbs," and misspellings that are not common to native English speakers.

Anyone who has tried to learn a foreign language knows that the tenses are the hardest thing to learn and for many Asian students, the "being verbs" are impossible to fully understand.

Based on the mistakes made, I suspect the foreign student is East Asian or Indian but I'm leaning strongly toward Chinese: native Mandarin speaker.

However, I agree that most American high school youth cannot formulate coherent sentences in English. That someone so illiterate could make it to the college level is beyond depressing.

Divemedic · December 4, 2010 at 3:53 am

The student's last name is Bell. Not likely Chinese or Spanish.

Regardless of what language the student speaks, to graduate from college, one should be able to speak the language of the college's host country. I wouldn't expect a Chinese college to give me a degree if I couldn't speak Chinese well enough to complete the assignments.

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