Falling SAT scores are surely due in part to the ascendancy of electronic media and their saturating of the culture. High school students are occupied and preoccupied even more with these than adults are.
Much of their writing is confined to short bursts of heavily abbreviated expression, whether its texting, Twittering, emailing, Facebooking or other forms of media. Their reading seems to be primarily in the same areas.
When walking and unable to read or write, they are on their cell phones or listening to music on their iPods. Since the economy of the day is heavily dependent upon this media, there is little reason to hope for improvement in SAT scores, or the culture, in the immediate future.
The sure place not to lay the blame, which is where scapegoat hunters almost invariably lay it, is on the teachers. That is a cruel absurdity, but it does serve to deflect attention from where it really belongs: on studentsâÄô learning and the media that often prevents it.