Tuesday, August 24, 2004

What is in a color? 

I had an office manager here when I first started as chair who loved the color purple. Files were purple. Flyers. Everything she signed was purple. I'm not over it yet: The current staff is instructed to not use purple. I don't hate the color, but I got sick of it and didn't want to see it again for awhile.

Good thing I'm not a student. The Boston Globe reports that teachers are using purple instead of red to grade papers because "red is definitely a no-no."
"I do not use red," said Robin Slipakoff, who teaches second and third grades at Mirror Lake Elementary School in Plantation, Fla. "Red has a negative connotation, and we want to promote self-confidence. I like purple. I use purple a lot."
No, you ninny, we want to promote good writing, as this parent agrees.
Ruslan Nedoruban, who is entering seventh grade at his Belmont school, said red markings on his papers make him feel "uncomfortable."

His mother, Victoria Nedoruban, who is taking classes to improve her English, said she thinks papers should be corrected in red.

"I hate red," she said. "But because I hate it, I want to work harder to make sure there isn't any red on my papers."

Red has other defenders. California high-school teacher Carol Jago, who has been working with students for more than 30 years, said she has no plans to stop using red. She said her students do not seem psychologically scarred by how she wields her pen. And if her students are mixing up "their," "there," and "they're," she wants to shock them into fixing the mistake.

"We need to be honest and forthright with students," Jago said. "Red is honest, direct, and to the point. I'm sending the message, 'I care about you enough to care how you present yourself to the outside world.' "
Miss Jago, you would get to teach my daughter. Betsy Newmark thinks it's another example of Hard America, Soft America.